BMW’s new 1 Series doesn’t hit UK roads until the end of September, but Which? Car has just driven it.
Like the first 1 Series, it comes with rear-wheel drive, a posh interior and plenty of gadgets – on the surface it seems like not much has changed. So are a raft of tweaks enough to keep it among the class leaders?
BMW 1 Series video review
Pay the premium price?
Like the first 1 Series, the newcomer will initially be available as a five-door hatchback, with three-door, coupé and cabriolet versions following in 2012 and beyond.
There are five variants available at launch: two petrol engined-models, and three diesels. An Efficient Dynamics version that promises wallet-friendly CO2 emissions of 99g/km and claimed fuel economy of 74.3mpg will join the range later on.
Urban or Sport versions
BMW also says that there isn’t just one range-topping version, but two: Urban and Sport.
Urban is more luxury focused, getting a wide choice of exterior styling options including (somewhat questionable) white wheels, wing mirrors and trim, and a slatted grille.
Sport models have different alloys, revised bumpers and M-Sport suspension.
Why buy one?
The rear-wheel-drive layout makes the 1 Series good to drive. Performance from the 120d engine and handling are excellent, and ride quality has also improved over the last model.
It’s also very pleasant inside (if a bit snug), with high-quality materials everywhere.
The 1 Series we drove really was awash with technology – although it was a top of the range Urban model and much of the equipment we saw was optional (and pricey).
All models above the base-spec ES get a 6.5-inch screen on top of the dash and BMW’s iDrive control system. This works really well, and the smartphone integration pack (we tried it using an iPhone) was the best we’ve seen in almost any car.
You can even use Facebook and Twitter through the car (although only when stationary). This might not be massively useful, but it’s nevertheless impressive, if only for the fact that it shows off the car’s capabilities.
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