BMW 1 Series

Launched in 2004, the BMW 1 Series succeeded the 3 Series compact and has since notched up a tally of more than 200 000 sales since its induction to the compact segment. Now, three years later, the 1 Series has seen a facelift and the introduction of a three-door model that will signify a sporting addition to the five-door variant.

In addition to a number of new styling features (including a sporty three-door variant), the new model also ushers in some improvements to the power output of the engines on offer as well as some extras to BMW’s often less-than-generous spec list.

In terms of exterior styling, the signature kidney grille has been slightly revised and enlarged. The contoured headlight surrounds, darker surrounds on the lights, a wider air intake in the front air dam and a more pronounced spoiler lip are among the subtle touches present, while the replacement of the previous models rounded fog lamps with striking rectangular units round off the face of this newcomer.

The new model continues to feature those unusual love-or-hate flame surfaced contours to the flanks. These now serve to accentuate the long-nosed profile of the new vehicle, especially in the case of the three-door model. The rear is rounded up by a distinct contour line on the rear air dam that continues the sill creases from the flanks and echoes the shape of the front spoiler lip. The rear lights have also received horizontal light bars that feature LEDs that, again, echo the front’s optional bi-xenon headlights.

Those seeking to add a bit of sporting individuality to their 1 Series will be pleased to know that there is an M Sports Package available across the range. This package features an aggressive body kit, interior and suspension changes developed by BMW’s M division.

A redesigned interior offers straightforward quality and sophistication. Electrically controlled windows and an audio system complete the standard package. The company’s iDrive system remains, but can be upgraded with voice activated controls and sat-nav as optional extras.

Only three engine options will be available for the three-door model. The 3,0-litre straight six in 130i guise delivers 195 kW and 315 N.m of torque, which is good for 0-100 km/h in 6,0 seconds and a top speed of 250 km/h. Reworked versions of the 2,0-litre and 1,8-litre four-cylinder units, badged 120i and 118i respectively. The 2,0-litre unit delivers 115 kW and 200 N.m of torque, enabling 0-100 km/h in 8,5 seconds and a top speed of 215 km/h. The 1,8-litre unit pushes out 100 kW and 180 N.m of torque that serves up 0-100 km/h in 9,3 seconds and a top speed of 208 km/h.

The aforementioned powerplants will also feature on the five-door model, in addition to a 1,6-litre 116i and a 2,0-litre four-cylinder diesel engined 120d, with common rail-injection and VNT turbocharger. The entry-level 1,6-litre unit offers 85 kW and 150 N.m of torque, with a 0-100 km/h time of 10,9 seconds. The oil-burner delivers 125 kW and 340 N.m of torque – good enough for a top speed of 228 km/h, 0-100 km/h in 7,6 seconds and a claimed fuel economy of 5,5 l/100 km.

All petrol models feature BMW’s double-Vanos. Only the 116i doesn’t include the Valvetronic system.

All of these units are mated with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard or six-speed automatic with Steptronic as an optional extra. The current version of the automatic transmission offers a sporting drive thanks to optimised reaction and gearshift times, including the direct connection of the transmission to the engine. The driver can also intervene manually, selecting gears via the gear lever and on the 130i paddle shifters are positioned on the steering.

Features on board the new 1 Series include Active Steering, Dynamic Stability Control, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Traction Control and ABS with Automatic Stability Control. This BMW also has the safety features that have only been available to vehicles in higher segments before, including among others, three point inertia-reel seatbelts, belt latch tensioners, belt force limiters, and front, side and curtain airbags.


BMW 118i Manual (three-door) R 223 000

BMW 120i Manual (three-door) R 239 000

BMW 130i Manual (three-door) R 300 500

BMW 116i (Manual only) R 216 500

BMW 118i Manual R 228 000

BMW 120i Manual R 244 000

BMW 120d Manual R 266 000

BMW 130i Manual R 305 500

6-speed Automatic Gearbox with Steptronic R14 500

M Sports Package from R24 300

Article written by

CAR magazine