Sensibly, but controversially, BMW has switched to front-wheel drive for this generation of 1 Series, to meet customer demands. Buyers wanted more space, rather than the more engaging handling of rear-wheel drive. For the first time in 15 years, BMW has responded.
The A-Class was a top-10 best seller last year. BMW will want the new 1 Series to do the same.
Bigger new 1 Series
Size-wise, the new 1 Series is actually 5mm shorter than the old car, at 4,319mm. It is 34mm wider and 13mm taller. It has far more interior space; 33mm more rear kneeroom and 19mm more headroom should fix one of the biggest complaints of the current car – its tiny rear seats.
There’s 13mm more elbowroom in the rear, and 42mm more elbowroom in the front will make it feel far roomier.
The boot grows to 380 litres, on a par with a Volkswagen Golf, extending to 1,200 litres with the seats down. It’s 67mm wider and, for the first time, 1 Series buyers can have an electric tailgate.
A higher quality interior has features such as touchscreen functionality and wireless smartphone charging. High-end BMW Live Cockpit Professional, as seen in the new 3 Series, is available as an option: it comes with a HD 10.25-inch screen.
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is also now fitted. Say ‘Hey BMW’ to operate various functions and controls. It works in a similar way to a home smart speaker.
Various trim materials can be chosen and ambient lighting adds theatre at night. For the first time, the 1 Series can be optioned with a panoramic glass roof – which opens.
A head-up display is also offered in a 1 Series for the first time.
BMW is selling the new 1 Series in three core trim lines: SE, Sport and M Sport. There will also be a range-topping M135i xDrive.
SE 1 Series have basic matt black air guides in the front bumper. They get high-gloss black paint on Sport models, which also gain a chrome frame kidney grill with high-gloss struts.
M Sport models have additional aero bodystyling, satin aluminium kidney grill struts and, inside, Dakota leather as standard.
M135i xDrive versions, pictured above, have a mesh kidney grille with the frame finished in Cerium Grey; other details including the door mirrors are also painted Cerium Grey. A high-gloss black rear diffuser and Alcantara M Sport seats with integrated headrests are standard.
How much is the new BMW 1 Series?
The new BMW 1 Series will launch with three diesel and two petrol engines. The entry-level engine, from £24,430, is the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo 118i, producing 140hp. It does 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds and CO2 emissions are down a massive 29g/km, to between 114-123g/km.
The only other petrol engine at launch is the M135i xDrive. Sorry, performance fans, the six-cylinder engine has gone: this one is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo, producing 306hp. It does 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and costs from £36,430.
A 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine powers the 116d, priced from £25,480. CO2 emissions are down 5 percent, to as low as 100g/km, and it will average up to 61.4mpg.
118d (from £26,640) and 120d xDrive (from £32,470) both have 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesels. The 118d produces 150hp and does 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds; the 120d xDrive puts out 190hp and does 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds.
To add slight confusion to the buying process, BMW offers three different types of gearbox with the new 1 Series. 116d, 118d and 118i models have a regular six-speed manual as standard. A seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch auto is optional on the 116d and 118i.
Standard on the 120d xDrive and M135i xDrive is an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic; it is optional on the 118d.
BMW 1 Series prices
|120d xDrive Sport||190hp||£32,470|