A NEW baby BMW is taking to the streets with the arrival of the third-generation 1 Series hatchback. Now front-wheel drive and consequently roomier inside, the new model 118i is powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine developing a healthy 140hp.
Originally launched in 2004, the 1 Series has proved to be a winner thanks to its winning combination of distinctive looks, classy feel and driving fun. The all-new third generation car follows BMW’s trend of design evolution. In fact, at a glance you might struggle to differentiate it from its immediate predecessor, which has been on sale since 2011.
The car is available in SE, Sport and M Sport trims, as well as the range-topping M135i xDrive, all of which differ from one another in both exterior and interior details. Each level adds sportier exterior touches, larger alloys and plusher interior finishing
The 1 Series is initially available with two diesel and two petrol engines. On the diesel front, there’s a 1.5-litre (116d) and two 2.0-litre units (118d and 120d). If you prefer petrol (the majority of buyers will), then choose from an entry-level 1.5-litre three-cylinder (118i) or a 2.0-litre developing 302bhp (M135i xDrive) making it BMW’s most powerful four-cylinder engine. However, if it’s economy and low CO2 levels you’re after then 116d offers up to 61.4mpg and emissions are as low as 100g/km.
Elsewhere, the BMW 1 Series is hugely improved as a package. As you’d expect, build quality is superb and it has a classy feel. There’s now space for adults to sit comfortably in the back seats, while the 380-litre boot capacity keeps up with its rivals. Flip the rear seats down and there’s a useful loading capacity of 1,200 litres. The 1 Series is a car for the tech fans, BMW have packed the hatchback with almost everything from the popular 3 Series and even elements from the range-topping 8 Series. A full digital cockpit display is on offer alongside a head display with gesture control which can allow drivers to use simple hand gestures to perform various actions – for a small affordable family hatchback, these features are very impressive.
BMW executives have confirmed an all-electric hatchback is in the production plans for a launch sometime in 2021. It is expected to be almost identical to the conventional ICE-powered 1 Series models in terms of design with the only difference being the obvious lack of a radiator grille and the brighter colours.
It shouldn’t be underestimated how important the 1 Series is for BMW. The hatchback accounts for one in five cars sold by the German giant. Owners also tend to be younger and more likely to move up the range as they get older.
23rd of October 2019