In the world of BMW, entry-level takes on a slightly different meaning. In the larger-than-life world of Manhart, such a level doesn’t even exist. Technically speaking, this is a BMW 1 Series and as such, it’s the smallest of them all. But if you call this sinister hot hatchback entry-level, we suspect it would kick your ass, raid your refrigerator, and run away with your significant other. In that order.
What we have here is actually called the Manhart MH1 350. It’s a BMW M135i xDrive at heart, which is already a stout hot hatch with 306 horsepower (228 kilowatts) courtesy of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The German-based tuning company adds a carbon intake to the mix, along with a downpipe and a full exhaust upgrade for better breathing. A new control unit brings all the systems into harmony, and the result is 350 hp (261 kW) from the overachieving four-pot.
Extra power is supplemented with a 1.1-inch suspension drop courtesy of H&R Springs. 20-inch Manhart GTS wheels wear 235/30-series tires, which claw at the ground through the otherwise stock xDrive all-wheel-drive system. A brake upgrade is available should buyers wish it, rounding out the mechanical enhancements from Manhart.
On the visual side, of course there’s a body kit. This is Manhart after all, and for the MH1 350, it includes a fat rear diffuser with a prominent front spoiler. In between you’ll find side skirts that further enhance the lowered look of this 1 Series. A roof spoiler completes the hot hatchback look, and everything – and we do mean everything – gets a healthy coat of gloss black.
You’ll find utter darkness on the wheel inserts, the grille, mirrors, just about all the trim, even on the exhaust finishers. Wide dark gray side stripes with a thin red pinstripe offer a touch of contrast in the profile view; the stripe combo is duplicated in an offset position on the hood. Silver trim is visible around the vents on the front fascia, while Manhart’s badge just above the grille stands out as an oasis of color amid a sea of black. Inside, the interior is untouched save for special floormats.
Manhart doesn’t offer pricing for its MH1 350, and it’s obviously not available in the States since we don’t get the 1 Series. But for folks across the pond, this could be the dark lord of hot hatchbacks you’ve been waiting for.