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In-Depth Review: The BMW 1 Series Hatchback

On Sunday, May 15th, 2016

When the first BMW 1 Series hatchback got released back in 2004, it got met with mixed reactions. BMW enthusiasts thought it was great that the German car maker released such a model. While some of the motoring press had less-than-favourable words about it.

BMW 1 Series Hatchback

Today, the second-generation facelift model is the current car. It has a more sculpted look, taking its design cues from its bigger brothers. No longer are the motoring press calling the 1 Series the “ugly duckling” of the range. Instead, they are singing its praises on what is now a viable premium compact hatchback.

In today’s in-depth review, I will be talking about what you can expect from the newest BMW 1 Series model. Here is what you need to know:

Vast selection of engines

You might think that the baby of the BMW family will sport only a limited range of power plants. The good news is one can select from a plethora of petrol and diesel engine choices.

One of the newest engines you’ll find in the 1 Series is the 1.6-litre 16-valve petrol unit. It represents a milestone for BMW because it’s the first four-cylinder TwinPower unit. In case you didn’t know, TwinPower means the engines have twin-scroll turbochargers.

The 116i, which features that engine, produces a healthy 134 brake horsepower. Sure, the 0-60 time of 8.2 seconds won’t attract speed demons. But, it’s an eco-friendly engine that boasts a combined fuel economy of 52 MPG. It also has low CO2 emissions of 125g/km.

For the ultimate in greener motoring, there is the 120d model. Featuring a 2.0-litre turbodiesel, it has superior fuel economy at 67 MPG combined. Engine emissions are even lower at 110 g/km.

So, what about if you wanted a high-performance BMW 1 Series? Don’t worry, because the Munich-based car manufacturer has got you covered!

The BMW 125i M Sport has a 2.0-litre TwinPower petrol engine that offers an impressive 214 bhp! It’ll get you from zero to 60 mph in a mere 6.0 seconds. That’s faster than the current Volkswagen Golf GTi, which, as you know, is lighter than the BMW 1 Series!

There are various other engine choices to suit one’s performance and fuel economy needs. If you wanted an Eastern Western new BMW, the 1 Series should be your model of choice just for engine choice alone!

Manual or automatic: the choice is yours

As you might expect from BMW, the 1 Series comes with two transmission options. Old-school motorists can opt for the responsive six-speed manual gearbox. If you want convenience and better fuel economy, the cutting-edge Steptronic is for you.

Both transmission choices are practical for different reasons. I would ignore the people that tell you only manuals give you “full control” of the car. The Steptronic in the 1 Series provides razor-sharp gear changes. It’s safe to say it’s better than the DSG units found in Volkswagen and Audi vehicles.

Well-balanced handling

Make no mistake about it: the BMW 1 Series is a car that grips the road! Take one out for a test drive and you will concur with my opinion. Even when you drive the car into corners at speed, there’s no sliding action. Nor does it “fishtail” when you get back into the straights.

One of the unique selling points of the BMW 1 Series is how it’s the ONLY rear-wheel drive in its class! BMW have got it right with the 1 Series because the car has equal weight distribution. There is little body roll, even on the lower trim spec models.

When BMW began working on the second-generation, they did extensive testing in the UK. Why? Because it’s a well-known fact that British roads are among some of the most demanding in Europe. Or, to put it another way, many British roads are just terrible to drive on due to poor maintenance!

As a result of BMW’s extensive UK testing, the ride isn’t as harsh as it was on the first-generation models. The 1 Series is a compact car that grips the road yet offers good ride quality. BMW sure have ticked all the boxes when it comes to handling!

Generous equipment levels

The BMW 1 Series is a car classed as a premium compact model. As you might expect, it comes with a generous array of equipment and features as standard.

At the bottom of the trim range is the SE. It boasts satellite navigation, climate control, and a 6.5-inch infotainment system. Also included are a DAB digital radio and a premium six-speaker setup. And, yes, the infotainment system also includes Bluetooth! The SE has also got automatic wipers and headlights. Other features include keyless engine start and a leather steering wheel.

The mid-range trim is the Sport. That’s the same as the SE but with the addition of 17-inch alloy wheels. You also get a black glossy interior trim, a sports steering wheel and sports front seats.

At the top of the trim range is the M Sport. It’s a trim that BMW enthusiasts will opt for without question! Aside from the powerful 2.0-litre TwinPower engine, you get some cool features too. Examples include Alcantara upholstery, an M Sport body kit, and sports suspension. The M Sport kit also boasts larger 18-inch alloy wheels.

It’s as comfortable as your living room sofa

BMW aren’t in the business of building uncomfortable cars. You might think they’d cut corners with the 1 Series given that it’s not a flagship model. But, you would be wrong!

The seats in all trims of the BMW 1 Series are extremely comfortable. Plus, the front seats grip you well so that you don’t thrash around while cornering. The wheelbase is a little longer than the outgoing model, making it ideal for tall people.

The boot of the BMW 1 Series offers plenty of cargo space, especially with the rear seats folded down.

Thanks for reading today’s in-depth review on the BMW 1 Series.

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