BMW has unveiled the third generation of its front-drive 1 Series hatchback, with a recognizable dynamic exterior, roomier interior and new technologies, all designed to carry on BMW’s trademark agility and performance.
The stance has been slightly adjusted without changing the footprint too much (5 mm shorter in length, 34 mm wider and 13mm taller, riding on a 20 mm shorter wheelbase). The hood is shorter, launching from a more pronounced shark nose with a larger kidney grille (unique mesh on the M version), and the silhouette is a more pronounced wedge with a longer greenhouse.
The mixed exterior dimension reworkings translate into a roomier interior, especially for back seat inhabitants, with 33 more mm of rear leg room, 19 more mm of rear head room and an extra 13 mm of elbow room (front passengers get an extra 42 mm of elbow room). The cargo hold is now 380 litres with the split rear seatbacks in place (up to 1,200, with various parts folded) and an electrically operated hatchgate is optional.
Befitting its driver-focussed presentation, the instrument panel with its touchscreen display angle toward the driver. It features the latest generation of BMW’s Operating system, with optional gesture control.
Head-Up Display and Park Distance Control are also offered for the first time in the 1 Series, as is the reversing assistant to make it easier to back up into tight spots, with a neat memory feature where by the car is able to store a section of road accessed over low speed (up to 35 km/h) and is then able to reverse the exact route (such as taking a tight winding trail that ends up not leading anywhere).
The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant allows the driver to access voice command over certain things simply by saying “Hey BMW” and then following up with a question or request. Owners can assign a name to the system (Jarvis?!), which learns behaviour to make conversation easier and some control functions intuitive.
Power comes from a choice of five engines — three diesel engines and the 140-hp 1.5-litre 3-cylinder and a newly-developed 306-hp 2.0-litre 4-cylinder. Zero to 100 km/h takes 8.5 seconds for the 3-cyl engine and 4.8 for the “four.”
The standard transmission is a 6-speed manual, with a 7-speed Steptronic dual clutch automatic optional on the 118i. The M135 uses an 8-speed Steptronic. The automatics can adapt their shift maps according to data received from the navigation system to avoid unnecessary shifting. The adaptive cruise and engine stop/start also take cues from the navigation system (as well as from front camera and sensors) to keep their operations smoother.
The suspension is also unique to each 1 Series iteration, with the M suspension reducing ride height by 10 mm. It can also be specified with an optional adaptive suspension with variable damper control, which lets the driver choose from two different damping response settings (Comfort and Sport).
The all-new BMW 1 Series can be pre-ordered now with deliveries starting in September 2019. It is not yet known when the rear-wheel drive coupe and convertible 2 Series variations will be introduced and available.