BMW 1 Series Review An entertaining drive, high quality and with a range of engines that goes from extremely economical to extremely quick, the BMW 1 Series has it all on paper, at least.
Unfortunately its rear wheel drive set up unique in the family hatchback segment means it loses a little space compared to rivals like the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.Because it's a premium car the BMW 1 Series looks relatively pricey, though it's very well equipped across the range and its residual values are excellent, meaning it's not as expensive as it may seem. All engines are strong performers, with the diesels offering good low rev flexibility and the range topping M140i a truly rapid hot hatchback.Updated in 2012, the second generation BMW 1 Series for sale today can trace its roots all the way back to the 2004 original. Designed to take on rivals in the premium or badge conscious hatchback sector including the Audi A3, Mercedes A Class and Volkswagen Golf, the BMW 1 Series may not be the most practical but it has an ace oakley outlet coupon up its sleeve. As a rear wheel drive hatchback the 1 Series can claim to be unique in its class, and there's no doubt it's the most fun to drive.The current BMW 1 Series is offered with a good range of petrol and diesel engines, and the standard SE model is surprisingly well equipped too. The spec list includes 16 inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, a 6.5 inch infotainment screen with iDrive controller, multi mode Drive Performance Control (DPC), air conditioning, DAB radio with CD player and Bluetooth, and automatic lights.The 1 Series Sport model adds 17 inch alloys, extra Sport+ mode on the DPC system, sporty ray ban trim embellishments outside, and sports seats and instrument pack inside. The M Sport edition takes the wheels up to 18 inches, you get LED lighting, M Sport suspension and lots more sporty styling cues inside and out.The top model is the M140i hot hatch, which aside from its phenomenal performance, adds a lot more sporty style including instantly recognizable grey 'airblades' in the lower grille, further upgrades to suspension and brakes, and more creature comforts like twin zone climate control.Engine choices include the extremely efficient and economical three cylinder diesel shared with the MINI, which offers up to 80mpg. After that there's a broad spread of petrol and diesel four cylinder models, and of course the twin turbo six cylinder engine from the blistering M140i.The car is available in three and five door configurations, but thanks to the rear wheel drive packaging none are especially roomy in the back compared to more mainstream hatchback rivals like the Ford Focus or SEAT Leon. However, a choice of auto and manual gearboxes adds to the BMW's desirability, as do its coupe and convertible sister cars although these are known as the 2 Series models.An enjoyable driving experience is one of the 1 Series' biggest selling points, with every version providing the sort of rear wheel drive balance that the competition cannot match.It doesn't come cheap, but the good news is that sharp responses and composed cornering are a given, from best price on oakley sunglasses the 116d to the M140i. All 1 Series models corner without much body roll and show impressive agility, while if you spec the optional adaptive dampers the ride is more comfortable than the equivalent Audi A3 and Mercedes A Class particularly the latter.As usual with a BMW, comfort deteriorates the further up the range you go, with an SE car on smaller wheels and with thicker tyre sidewalls providing a noticeably smoother ride than an M Sport car. That's because M Sport brings with it firmer suspension, bigger wheels and thinner tyres as standard.For the same reason the seats make a difference too, with an SE's flatter chairs offering less lateral support but generally being more comfortable over long distances than the tighter sports seats of a Sport or M Sport model.A six speed manual gearbox is standard, though higher powered models (120d upwards) can be specified with an eight speed automatic. The 120d is available with xDrive four wheel drive for added traction but this increases the weight.The manual gearbox feels solid, if a little notchy through the gate, while the automatic is brilliant smooth and quick shifting. The eight ratios of the auto mean it stays in the engine's sweet spot more of the time.All 1 Series models are quick, with even the cheapest 118i petrol dishing up the sort of 0 62mph sprint that's firmly in the warm hatch league, and while the 116d might look comparatively sluggish on paper, its strong low end torque makes it feel flexible in real life.The 1 Series' dynamic ability means it's better suited to its petrol engines generally, the high revving character of these units adding to the driving enjoyment. That said, the very popular 118d and 120d models are positively rapid around town, owing to masses of low rev torque, while the 125d is a true high performance diesel. This range topping diesel option gives a fantastic blend of real world pace and 60mpg plus economy. It's expensive to buy, though. The 120i and 125i both get a 2.0 litre unit and the M140i uses a twin turbo 3.0 litre straight six to generate 335bhp. The 116i was dropped with the 2015 facelift, and the M135i became the M140i in 2016.The update saw BMW add a three cylinder engine to the 1 Series range for the first time namely the 115bhp 1.5 litre engine also found the MINI Cooper D and badged 116d here. The 118d, 120d and 125d models stick with a larger four cylinder 2.0 litre diesel engine, tuned for different power outputs.Even the 118i will do 0 62mph in 8.5 seconds and mens oakley sunglasses cheap hit a top speed of 130mph, while the 120i does the sprint in 7.4 seconds, the 125i in 6.4s and the M140i in 4.9s. These are all quick cars, and though the M140i is the best sounding on account of its six cylinders, the remaining four cylinder engines have a smooth thrum all the way to the redline. None of them ever feels breathless if you're in the right gear.Equipped with the eight speed automatic gearbox, the M140i will hit 62mph even quicker, in 4.6 seconds, although back in the 1 Series' heartland the higher end four cylinder diesel models 120d and 125d feel almost as quick around town. That's because they boast 400Nm and 450Nm torque respectively the latter only a little less than the M140i, and available as an automatic only.Arguably the most impressive engine overall, however, is the aforementioned three cylinder diesel unit found in the 116d and 116d EfficientDynamics Plus. With only three cylinders it manages to haul the 1 Series along nicely, and although it's not the most eager to rev, with 270Nm it has 50Nm more torque than the 118i, so it's a flexible motor.It sounds pleasant enough too, with BMW having muted most of the diesel clatter. Given that it's a three cylinder diesel it's remarkably smooth, both at idle and full tilt.The 1 Series is BMW's entry level model, so it isn't surprising that it's one of the cheapest cars in the range to run after the headline grabbing electric i3. The 116d EfficientDynamics Plus model is, as the name suggests, incredibly efficient. It returns 83.1mpg and emits a VED free 89g/km of CO2.Stop start technology is standard across the 1 Series range, but we'd suggest sticking with the diesel models if out and out fuel economy is a priority. They offer a great balance of performance and value.
To help keep fuel use down, all 1 Series models get ECO PRO mode that encourages more economical driving by reducing throttle response and the amount of load put on the engine by equipment such as air con.If you prefer the character of a petrol engine, or you do especially low mileage, the 118i petrol engine returns a claimed 52.3mpg and emits 125g/km of CO2, which is very impressive given its performance.
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