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      09-07-2013, 09:24 AM   #1
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Post BMW M135i vs A45 AMG vs S3 Review by CAR

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BMW M135i vs A45 AMG vs S3 Review by CAR
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CAR recently undertook a premium hot hatch comparison, featuring the M135i against the Mercedes A45 AMG and the Audi S3 (full review). Here's how the trio stack up on paper:

The M135i serves up 320 HP and 332 LB-FT (450 Nm) from its 3 liter turbo N55 engine, mated to the 8 speed automatic ZF transmission and is RWD.

The Mercedes comes with the most power, but is also the most expensive out of this group, powered by a 360 HP / 332 LB-FT (450 Nm) 2-liter turbo engine and driven by a 7 speed dual clutch transmission and AWD.

The Audi S3 tested here has 300 HP and 380 Nm of torque from its 2 liter engine, 6 speed manual and AWD.

Here's how they compare when tested:

Quote:
BMW M135i

The M135i feels significantly softer edged than the now-defunct 335bhp 1-series M Coupe. That little bruiser, mixing the M3’s suspension and brakes with a squat chassis, manual gearbox and punchy turbo engine was a riotous experience, but the M135i is different. Believe it or not, but the high-end 1-series makes the charismatic 1M Coupe pale in more ways than one. How come? Because this half-breed M car is benign instead of brutal, cossetting instead of crash-bang hard, relaxed instead of highly strung, easily accessible instead of radically focused.

Through the countless hairpins, up steep slopes, and on a very mixed bag of winding roads, the absence of driven front wheels and a limited-slip differential looked at the beginning of our drive like a deciding dynamic deficiency of the BMW – but we were wrong. Thanks to its good dynamic weight distribution, the chip-controlled traction management and those fine composed-to-order Michelin Pilot Supersport tyres, the semi-M car rarely put a foot wrong.

That engine is sweeter than apfelstrudel with cream, whipping eagerly through the revs, the mighty mid-range urge putting the four-cylinder competition into perspective, the two extra cylinders of the straight-six ensuring there are absolutely no artificial ingredients involved in making this 3.0-litre motor sound spine-tinglingly good when the mixture gates open. The optional eight-speed automatic cracks quickly through the upshifts too, is keener to downshift than the Merc’s dual-clutch ’box, and hides any trace of turbo lag. And the BMW also is clearly the most comfortable car in this group: even with the driving experience selector in Sport or Sport Plus, the suspension will soak up most vagaries with a smile.

But marketing calls these niche models M Performance Automobiles, and that’s exactly what the M135i is: M make-up plus a performance engine and chassis, all wrapped up in the clothes of a compact gran turismo. The M135i was our number one choice on the poorly maintained Italian autostrada, but it is a touch too laid-back to bring your blood to the boil on those memorable Alpine special stages. Furthermore, the brakes are on the soft side when pushed, the quick steering (only two turns from lock to lock) feels overdamped and under-transparent, and there is more roll and pitch and dive than we expected from a 1-series model wearing the M badge. Full marks for ride quality, panache and refinement, but only 3.5 stars out of five for absolute sportiness and driver involvement.

Would the M135i have won if it looked better and felt more special inside? It might have come closer, but it would still be more of a GT – and we still wonder how the 1-series was ever type-approved for daytime operation on public roads. Thankfully a facelift will right that particular wrong in 2014. The Audi? It is tight-lipped, monosyllabic and reserved, strangely robotic in the way it performs, and flawed in its ability to turn a near-faultless performance into a tangible feelgood experience. There are too many layers of indifference and artificiality in what is, in essence, a solid concept.
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Verdict

It means, after 48 hours, 500-odd miles, 269 litres of premium unleaded, and three fresh shirts, the A45 AMG takes the trophy ahead of the BMW and the Audi, off-putting price tag notwithstanding. The M135i feels like a neatly spiced up 1-series, the S3 feels like an S-line A3 with more poke. In contrast, the A45 feels more AMG than A-class, more special than mainstream, more bespoke than bespoilered. For the time being, this Mercedes rules the microcosm that was once owned by Scooby, Mitsu & friends. But as soon as the 355bhp M2 and the next 375bhp RS3 are ready to pick up the gauntlet, we shall return to these dream driving roads for an encore.
Catch the full review at CAR.

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      09-07-2013, 09:44 AM   #2
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Nice post mate!

All the reviews are saying the same thing, A45 AMG beats M135i. I don't think it's a fair comparison anymore, they should compare the A45 to the RS3 and not to the S3 and not to the M135i.

Kudos to Mercedes for making a cracking car; but I still don't like that screen.
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      09-07-2013, 09:45 AM   #3
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Dont understand these reviews. Of coursw a true AMG car would win? I mean whats the next review going to be? The new m4 vs an all new c350? Guess whos winning that one.
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      09-07-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HasanK
Nice post mate!

All the reviews are saying the same thing, A45 AMG beats M135i. I don't think it's a fair comparison anymore, they should compare the A45 to the RS3 and not to the S3 and not to the M135i.

Kudos to Mercedes for making a cracking car; but I still don't like that screen.
Yep. People say the new bmw interiors are odd looking. The mercedes interior looks nice besides that screen which looks like an afterthought. I mean did they have tomtom or garmin consultants on that design?
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      09-07-2013, 10:00 AM   #5
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"355bhp M2" ?
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      09-07-2013, 10:13 AM   #6
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355 bhp M2? From where it comes that information?
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      09-07-2013, 10:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Leo88
355 bhp M2? From where it comes that information?
Pulled it outta their arse probably. CAR has been known to do that in the past with speculative info and renders.
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      09-07-2013, 10:48 AM   #8
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Well don't quite get why all the mags are comparing awd models to rwd model. They do know that the m135i comes in xdrive. Apart from that its a nice feeling that an m-lite can compete with a bonkers amg model. And towards the end of the article they forgot to mention the benchmark/king of hatches the golf mk7 r. Look wise it's personal but engineering wise it's quite the bullet. For me it's 1) m135i 2) golfr 3) a45 4)s3
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      09-07-2013, 11:27 AM   #9
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Good comparative!
The 3 cars are balanced.
Especially for the refined chassis work, as only the Germans know it, perfection exceeded.
GERMAN LAW CARS:
1. Not acceptable body roll of the car.
2. Decrease the cabin noise.
3. Motor powerful.
4. Ultra high quality.

Munich vs Ingolstadt vs Stuttgart
Best of all is the extraordinary performance of all.

We will have to wait for a more comparative,with the fourth competitor, the new VW Golf R to 300 hp.
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      09-07-2013, 11:43 AM   #10
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MB wins, boo!
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      09-07-2013, 12:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo88 View Post
355 bhp M2? From where it comes that information?
Same thing I was about to post! I have been lusting for the M2 and hoping it would make production but no credible rumors. Where are they getting the info? More importatnly its a bold statement to put out there that it has exactly 355hp. Now I really want to know where and who the source is.

BMW if youre listening plese plan the M2. Tons of people want this car in their driveway!!
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      09-07-2013, 12:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raffoul232 View Post
Well don't quite get why all the mags are comparing awd models to rwd model. They do know that the m135i comes in xdrive. Apart from that its a nice feeling that an m-lite can compete with a bonkers amg model. And towards the end of the article they forgot to mention the benchmark/king of hatches the golf mk7 r. Look wise it's personal but engineering wise it's quite the bullet. For me it's 1) m135i 2) golfr 3) a45 4)s3
Most of these magazines are British and the M135i xDrive isn't available in right hand drive countries, that's the same reason they didn't get the M550d over there.
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      09-07-2013, 12:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raffoul232 View Post
Well don't quite get why all the mags are comparing awd models to rwd model. They do know that the m135i comes in xdrive. Apart from that its a nice feeling that an m-lite can compete with a bonkers amg model. And towards the end of the article they forgot to mention the benchmark/king of hatches the golf mk7 r. Look wise it's personal but engineering wise it's quite the bullet. For me it's 1) m135i 2) golfr 3) a45 4)s3

The new Golf R and the Audi S3 shares the platform, the engine, and almost everything except the chassis and some interior parts. So we already know what to expect from WV.
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      09-07-2013, 12:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkim1079
Dont understand these reviews. Of coursw a true AMG car would win? I mean whats the next review going to be? The new m4 vs an all new c350? Guess whos winning that one.
I would agree, except BMW is putting the M badge on the car so it should perform like an "M" car. You won't see the M4 compete against a "AMG c350". If you're going to whore out the name, be prepared for the expectations and criticisms when those are not met.
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      09-07-2013, 01:01 PM   #15
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I hope that the M2 will have more than 355bhp, 370bhp seem like to be a good starting point.
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      09-07-2013, 01:15 PM   #16
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The speculation is a ~360hp 4-cylinder M2 model (s20?) but could still end up with down tuned S55 or a V6... The successor to the 1M

FN doesn't want to take current orders away from the F80/2, so they are keeping the F86 and F20M on the down low but I'm sure they will both come

This will definitely dominate the merc because it will also have the DCT available and if will be shit tons lighter plus it's the car a lot of people may be holding out for from a pure BMWism standpoint
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      09-07-2013, 01:38 PM   #17
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Idiot magazine guys stating a number that they have no factual information from....wtf, I hate that

If the M2 only comes with 355 that'll be sad :s

And it has to be a tuned N55 because it wouldn't make sense to make it less powerful that the current one as it won't have the power it needs to compete
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      09-07-2013, 02:20 PM   #18
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i agree with everybody that an M-performance model or Audi S shouldn't be compared to a full blown AMG, but.... This is the only high-performance hatchback that will come out of BMW seeing as the M2 will be a coupe/convert/gran coupe

therefore it will be compared to these cars. at least audi will drop a full blown RS3 model, so we'll see how that goes.
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      09-07-2013, 03:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thurman Murch
The speculation is a ~360hp 4-cylinder M2 model (s20?) but could still end up with down tuned S55 or a V6... The successor to the 1M

FN doesn't want to take current orders away from the F80/2, so they are keeping the F86 and F20M on the down low but I'm sure they will both come

This will definitely dominate the merc because it will also have the DCT available and if will be shit tons lighter plus it's the car a lot of people may be holding out for from a pure BMWism standpoint
I think Dr N already answered all these questions in his last interview
- If it comes it'll be 6 cylinder.
- It'll be RWD
- It's not signed off but they're optimistic.
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      09-07-2013, 03:08 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATX78703
i agree with everybody that an M-performance model or Audi S shouldn't be compared to a full blown AMG, but.... This is the only high-performance hatchback that will come out of BMW seeing as the M2 will be a coupe/convert/gran coupe

therefore it will be compared to these cars. at least audi will drop a full blown RS3 model, so we'll see how that goes.
Yep you're right and the next lot will be FWD. It seems practical and top end are becoming mutually exclusive at BMW. Merc and Audi offer estates in top spec and supercars for that matter.
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      09-07-2013, 05:14 PM   #21
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Well, a really light M2 4-pot with lots of forced induction boost would be one hell of a car, and in the old tradition.
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      09-07-2013, 06:28 PM   #22
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I thought it was still speculation as to whether there will be an M2?

Another loss for BMW. How about stop slapping an M on every car if it cant compete like an M car should? You dont see the M3 losing out in every review.
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