BMW have gone for the front wheel drive in the new 1 Series following in the footsteps of the very successful Mercedes A-Class, which was launched back in 2018. As BMW is all about building the ultimate driving machine, the 1 Series will also come in all wheel drive. The M135i and the A35 are not worlds apart, in fact they are lot closer in the making.

The similarities are so alike between the two hatchbacks, it seems as if the two brands discussed the idea’s but did it in their own branding style. Both manufacturers have been able to produce hatchbacks that offer luxury and performance.

So, which one would you drive?

If you were to decide your choice based on performance, you would find this a difficult decision as both cars almost the same. As both of the cars have a strong following and passionate drivers, the decision can only be based on which car gives you more.

Exterior Design

The 1 Series has adapted to the changes of the front wheel drive system, this means there is a transverse mounted engine which means the front of the car is a shorter than what you would usually expect from BMW in its hatchback. As you would expect the M135i has the bulkier and aggressive look from the 1 Series, a different styled grille, wider side skirts also bigger wheels to match the styling.

Seems like BMW got the idea from The Dark Knight move; when they designed the front part of the car, if you look at the lower part of the bumper- it looks like a sinister smile. We doubt that was the look BMW were going for, but it seems to work.

The rear of car has fake diffusers for the lower part of the bumper, there twin exhaust tips which, are unmissable with the size of the them. The rear lights also are bigger in size and to complete the look there is a spoiler that very subtle from the tip of the roof which leans slightly over the rear windshield. BMW also offer M Performance parts which really makes the car a head turner and for the enthusiasts it will be the ultimate driving machine.

Mercedes-AMG A35 and the standard A-Class have their own levels from the body to the performance of the cars. The A35, as standard comes with more of sportier look without the extra’s even being added.

The front of the car Mercedes-AMG A35 shows more of aggressive look with bigger vents a bigger mouth compared to the standard A-Class. It also has small winglets on sides od the bumper with the lower winglets being in place to connect and form a mini splitter along the edge of the bumper.

A great look from the AMG hatch that comes with big AMG alloys also blades that are along the side skirts. The rear bumper shows a much more realist diffuser and lets through air, unlike the M135i, which is more for show. Also like the BMW M135i the Mercedes-AMG has twin exhausts which you notice from their size. Also, to add to the A35, it gets a bigger spoiler which is bolted above a smaller spoiler that comes on all A-Class models.

The Mercedes wins the exterior design as you get more of a put together car that you would with the BMW. The M135i with all the M Performance kit on it is still finding itself and on the other hand the Mercedes is very similar with all the AMG performance kit on it look like the car was built to for its purpose.

Interior Design

The 1 Series and the M135i have all the main parts you would get in the 3 Series. BMW have caught up with their latest models on tech and it seem like you do get more in this latest edition with an optional virtual cock pit, new style buttons, new design steering wheel and also same gear stalk you would find in the new 3 Series the overall feel is great. With the M135i you get a sportier also thicker steering wheel, Alcantara trim sport seats with blue stitch, blue mood lighting that are built into the strips of the door panels with its not worlds apart from the 1 Series but still more.

The A-Class and the AMG A35 have their own styles. They both get the 12.3-inch screen setup and the same steering wheels that are in most of the Mercedes model, but the design of the cabin is completely different. With all the latest tech inside it really looks like a car that is adapted to future well.

A lot more stylish and modern than the M135i interior and almost make the M135i look basic and dated. The Mercedes-AMG A35 interior looks a lot higher end, from the steering wheels to a more of thin Alcantara-trim. More ambient inside of the A35 with the mood lighting and overall feel inside the car.

Performance

Both the Mercedes-AMG A35 and the BMW M135i have similar engines with both cars having all wheel drive. There are some differences such as the Mercedes has an open differential and that is across all A-Class models, however the BMW has a mechanical limited slip differential on the front axle.

M135i has a turbocharged 2.0litre that has respectable 302 horsepower (306 PS) between 5,000 and 6,250 rpm and a peak torque rating of 450 Nm (332 pound-feet) that’s delivered flat between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm. BMW believes this should be able to achieve 0-62 in 4.7 seconds with the optional M Performance.

The 1 Series models has seven speed automatic gear shift and the M135i has an eight-speed automatic. It does have features such as launch control which can be manually operated through the steering wheel paddles and you have your drive modes which go along side this.

The Mercedes-AMG A35 also uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with same horsepower at 302, (306 PS) 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) that peaks at 3,000 rpm. The A35 uses a seven-speed dual clutch which send power to the front wheels and sharing that power to. rear axle when the car understeers. The AMG A35 does the 0-62 in the same time as the M135i, 4.7 seconds even with less torque.

Pricing

The BMW 1 Series starting price is from £21,160 also available on Contract hire and Lease from £228 p/m with an initial rental.

The BMW M135i xDrive starting price is from £36,430 also available on Contract hire and Lease from £322 p/m with an initial rental.

The Mercedes A-Class starting price is from £20,124 also available on Contract hire and Lease from £199 p/m with an initial rental.

The Mercedes-AMG A35 starting price is from £32,172 also available on Contract hire and Lease from £324 p/m with an initial rental.