BMW 1 Series facelift

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.

The new model, which sports new styling features as well as a few upgrades in the performance department, is still the only compact car on the market available in rear-wheel drive. The new three-door model adds a real touch of sporting appeal to the range as well.

Exterior wise, BMW enthusiasts will note that as the three-door’s front end is very long, the car’s centre of gravity is clearly moved to the rear. Up front the trademark “kidney grille” has been redesigned 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 all give an indication of this cars dominant stature. The standard fog lights are now striking rectangular pieces, as opposed to the round items found on the previous model.

Following the sweeping contours to the side of the vehicle, the uniqueness of the proportions of this car become more evident, particularly on the three-door. The long front end and the passenger cell, give the car a dynamic appearance. The rear is nicely rounded up by a distinct contour line on the rear air dam that continues the sill-lines at the side and takes up the shape of the front spoiler lip. The rear lights have also received horizontal light bars that feature LEDs that, coupled with the optional bi-xenon headlights, create a homologous lighting effect.

Under the bonnet, the facelift 1 Series receives a few bonuses too. The three-door model will only be available with the 3,0-litre straight six in 130i guise, and reworked 2,0-litre and 1,8-litre straight fours (120i and 118i respectively).

The five-door model will feature the above engines as well as a 1,6-litre 116i and a 2,0-litre four-cylinder diesel engined 120d, with common rail-injection and VNT turbocharger.

All petrol models feature BMW’s double-Vanos and only the 116i doesn’t include the Valvetronic system. The Engine specs are as follows:

116i 85 kW 150N.m 200 km/h

118i 100 kW 180N.m 208 km/h

120i 115 kW 200N.m 215 km/h

120d 125 kW 340N.m 228 km/h

130i 195 kW 315N.m 250 km/h (electronically limited)

All models in the new 1 Series range make use of a six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic with Steptronic. The current version of the automatic ensures a sporting drive thanks to short 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 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.

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.

There is also an M Sports Package available across the range that features an aggressive body kit, interior and suspension changes developed by BMW’s M division.


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

Exclusive Package from R14 800

M Sports Package from R24 300

Article written by

CAR magazine