BMW launched the brand new 1 Series hatchback recently and have said that it ‘heralds the dawn of a new era’ - a poetic way of saying “we’ve changed almost everything.” This is the third generation of the 1 Series and it marks the launch of BMWs new front-wheel-drive architecture. Yes, it’s finally happened, the 1 Series has become front-wheel-drive. Purists will despair, however, this has been inevitable for a long time now.
Don’t worry though, BMW claim this new nose-driven hatchback ‘fuses BMW’s signature driving pleasure and dynamic excellence with a significant increase in interior space.’ It’s taken BMW over 5 years of research, designing development and testing to produce a level of driving precision and excellence which is ‘unprecedented’ in front wheel drive cars. Tall claims, certainly, but if any manufacturer could back them up, BMW can.
What else is new?
Aesthetically, you’ll immediately notice that the new 1 Series has been given a comprehensive nose job. Massive kidney-grilles meet each other dead central, for the first time in the model's history. These alarmingly large nostrils certain establish road presence, and they’re being rolled out across whole BMW range.
The interior of the 1 Series has had every one of BMWs new toys thrown at it, but the most significant improvements are to passenger space. Rear passengers now have an extra 33 mm of legroom when compared to the previous model, which was hardly ‘cramped’, and all passengers will have an extra 19mm of headroom too. The biggest improvements happen at the front though. The driver and their front-seat passenger both benefit from a glorious 42mm of extra space. All this has been made possible by switching to a tightly packed front-wheel-drive setup.
The all-new 1 Series is now offered with the option of the BMW Head-Up Display and Park Distance Control (PDC), which uses front and rear sensors to provide acoustic & visual signals to prevent collisions with obstacles located to the rear or side of the vehicle. A rear-view camera is also an option. The optional Parking Assistant offers automatic assisted parking in parallel or perpendicular spaces.
Boot space is also improved, by 20 litres, to a whole 380 litres of space. Fold that row of seats down and this expands to a roomy 1,200 litres. This is certainly big enough for most reasonably sized dogs, and for the first time on a 1 Series, an electric tailgate is now available, even better.
The model lineup is as follows: Advantage, Luxury, Sport Line and then, of course, the M Sport model. These trim lines affect both interior and exterior features and styling, with the M Sport being the most well equipped. The top-tier model at the time of launch will be the M135i XDrive, although we expect an M140i model further down the line.
In terms of engines, you will have 3 diesel units and 2 petrol units to choose from at launch. The diesel models to pick from are the 116d, 118d and 120d xDrive, which will offer 61mpg, 60mpg and 51mpg respectively. Pretty impressive figures for a large premium hatchback and certainly a selling point to motorists who rack up motorway miles. Meanwhile, the 118i petrol model should return an agreeable 47mpg when driven carefully, and the M135i xDrive will work up to a maximum efficiency of 35mpg - which is on par for a modern large hot-hatch.
So, what are your thoughts? Could you get onboard with a front-running 1 Series? It looks like a sure-fire success and we’re confident that BMW will go on to sell an awful lot of them, adding to the 1.3 million examples of the previous 1 Series that BMW has built and sold so far...the new model is now on sale, priced from £24,430.
- PCP offer on 118i Sport 5dr of £279 x 48 months at 4.9% APR