The BMW 1 Series impress in three key areas: its overall desirability, optimum performance, and mechanical refinement. But the whole package is not enough for us to overlook how it falls short in other important aspects. Room made for the longitudinal engine at the front along with a transmission tunnel caused cramped space in the rear. The cabin quality wasn’t up to par, and neither was the standard drive balance we expected from a BMW vehicle.
In terms of design, the BMW 1 Series does not disappoint. Comfort and accommodation are the priorities of its newer models, along with an efficiency that would please fuel-obsessed drivers. The car has a wheelbase that has grown to 30mm and has become longer than the previous 1-series by an 85mm difference. Additional rear legroom is provided by 21mm extra inter-axle length. The tracks are widened as well, with the front axle gnat going beyond 40mm and beyond 60mm at the rear. Despite these additional lengths, the new model still carries a 30kg lighter difference from the previous generation. What results is a leaner and sleeker BMW 1 Series that impresses in aesthetics. Unfortunately the profile could put off some: its backward leaning orientation, tall height, and short width looks off in some angles.
The design improvements continue interiorly, as the longer rear doors provide ample legroom. Headroom and legroom grows larger up front, along with space for the shoulders, letting drivers enjoy ease of access to the steering wheel and pedal. The material is top of the line, as the interior includes glossy black air vent surrounds and satin-silvered audio.
Five engines have been introduced to the BMW 1 Series. There are two new versions of four-cylinder petrol engines and three new designs of the four-cylinder diesel units. The BMW four-cylinder petrol engine was fitted using a TwinPower Turbo technology, with the 116i four-cylinder twin turbo carrying 136hp at 220Nm of pulling power. The 118i goes at 170hp, with its peak at 250Nm.
In terms of driving performance, the 1-series does not disappoint. The inline engine layout and rear-wheel powertrain results in well-distributed weight across the car. Users have noted the variable sports steering and the vehicle’s ability to survive rough and bumpy country roads around the UK. Riders and drivers have the damped suspension set-up to thank for smoothing out uneven road surfaces when driving at normal speeds. Better control is also maintained when the driver opts for a faster speed. There’s also better and smoother control with the front wheels and improved power steering.
But taller individuals could have some trouble fitting through the car. Maximum legroom of the BMW 1 Series is at 860 mm; not too practical if you are expecting taller passengers but given the average height, it does the job. The quality is also not consistent in essential parts such as the dashboard roll-top, door cards, and the glovebox.
Unfortunately none of the driving performance additions or enhancements can overlook the lack of a finely tuned chassis and the lack of interactivity required of a larger saloon model.
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