By: IOL Motoring Staff
Munich - Sensibility has prevailed at last. BMW's designers have thrown away the ugly stick that was used to style the current-generation 1 Series.
Midlife updates in this corner of the world are usually kept on the subtle side, but the 1 Series has emerged from the facelift boutique with comprehensively redesigned front and rear ends. Those awkward upward-pointing headlights have been replaced by a more agreeable set of eyes with a flatter geometry and the 1 also gets a redesigned kidney snout and larger air intakes. The rear end sports new L-shaped taillights that extend into the tailgate.
The winds of change have blown just as forcefully beneath the skin as the 1 Series inherits BMW's latest family of three- and four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, while self-shifting versions have a new eight-speed Steptronic gearbox with a number of fuel-saving features, such as a shift strategy influenced by satnav data, a coasting function and Proactive Driving Assistant.
FRUGAL NEW ENGINES
European buyers get to choose from five petrol and four diesel motors, the most exciting being the upgraded three-litre six-cylinder in the M135i, which gains 5kW to deliver 240kW and 450Nm. As before there's a 160kW/310Nm 125i with a 2-litre turbopetrol four, while the 118i and 120i have a 1.6-litre turbo offering 100kW and 130kW respectively. At the most frugal end of the petrol range is a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo that pushes 80kW and 180Nm. At least it's economical, BMW claiming combined consumption of between 5.0 and 5.4 litres per 100km.
On that note, there's a full suite of almost-totally-updated turbodiesels, kicking off with the new 116i three-cylinder unit that delivers 85kW and 270Nm, and with a claimed thirst of between 3.6 and 4.1 l/100km. Next up is a 2-litre four-pot offering output levels of 110kW/320Nm (118d), 140kW/400Nm (120d) and 165kW/450Nm (125d).
Sadly this is likely to be the last rear-wheel drive 1 Series that BMW ever produces as its successor is almost certain to adopt BMW's new front-wheel drive platform that underpins the new 2 Series Active Tourer.
Though it sticks to its 'good old' chassis for now, this 1 Series does inherit some new driver assistance gizmos, such as radar-based Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function and an upgraded automatic parking assistant that can handle an even tighter squeeze. What's more, all cars come with an embedded Sim card that will open your motoring world to a whole range of online services.
The new hatch is likely to hit our shores before mid-year and details of the local line-up will be revealed closer to launch. Question is, do all these changes make it more desirable than the A-Class now?