BMW has revealed the next generation of its 1 Series premium compact hatchback.
The new BMW 1 Series offers more space, new engines and an eight-speed gearbox option. Plus, there’s an EfficientDynamics version that promises to emit just 99g/km of CO2.
New BMW 1 Series design
BMW describes the looks of the new 1 Series as ‘bold’ and ‘swept-back’, with ‘elegant proportions’.
You can be the judge of that – but suffice to say it won’t be too difficult to spot the difference between old and new versions of the car, even though it manages to keep a strong family resemblance.
The five-door hatchback variant takes the lead at launch, as it did with the original car. It’s 85mm longer (with a 30mm increase in wheelbase) and 17mm wider, but no taller; rear legroom is increased by 21mm and boot space is expanded from 330 litres to 360 litres. Three-door, coupé and convertible versions will follow in due course.
The new 1 Series retains its front-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout – unique in the compact hatchback sector – which should ensure a fine handling balance and plenty of driver appeal.
To see the cars the the new 1 Series will have to beat, see our medium car reviews
New BMW TwinPower turbo engines
Powering the 1 Series is a new range of 1.6-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines.
All of them feature BMW ‘TwinPower’ turbo technology – compact twin scroll turbochargers that boost performance and economy by effectively acting like two turbochargers in one.
Petrol choices are new generation engines, badged 116i and 118i and offering 134bhp and 167bhp respectively. Those are increases of 9 and 19bhp over the previous equivalents, and they come alongside fuel economy improvements of up to 10%.
The diesels are significantly revised versions of the previous 2.0-litre unit, with variable vane turbocharging and common-rail injection. A 114bhp 116d, 141bhp 118d and 181bhp 120d are all offered, each more economical than before.
Further extending the eco credentials of the new 1 Series, it becomes the first compact car to be offered with an eight-speed gearbox.
This is the eight-speed automatic that’s already in use in a number of larger premium cars across several brands, and is quite a notable addition to the optional extras list.
Beyond this, all versions of the new BMW will come with start-stop technology as standard – including the automatics. There is also a new ‘Eco Pro’ driving mode for maximum environmental savings, which is part of a standard-fit ‘driver experience switch’ that also offers Comfort and Sport settings.
Further down the line, BMW is also planning a 116d EfficientDynamics edition – with the same 114bhp power output, but CO2 emissions of 99g/km and 74.3mpg combined over the standard EU testing cycle. This matches the latest Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion, despite the reduced efficiency of rear-wheel drive.
The 116d EfficientDynamics will be the most efficient BMW ever – at least until the i-badged BMW electric models start to arrive on dealer forecourts.
Facebook and Twitter on-board
The endless march of new technology means the new 1 Series will be equipped with a wide range of standard and optional gadgets, such as BMW ConnectDrive.
Stand-out items include the availability of on-board internet access, BMW iDrive integration with a choice of 6.5- or 8.8-inch screens, a road sign-reading camera that can alert you to changes in the speed limit, high-beam assistance, cruise control with braking function, lane departure warning with collision detection, and increased integration for smartphones and music players – including, for better or worse, Twitter and Facebook apps.
The new BMW 1 Series receives its official public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September. Pricing and UK specification details should be confirmed nearer to then.
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