The 1 series is a range of compact luxury cars manufactured by BMW since 2004. Earlier referred to as the BMW Compact, this line-up is now produced in 4 different body styles. These include 5 door hatchback, 3 door hatchback, coupe and convertible. The latest generation 1 series made its international debut in 2011.
For India BMW brought this car in the hottest segment of the market – as a five door hatchback. The ones who have been waiting to slip into the lap of a luxurious BMW can now go for the 1 series that is available in a price range of just Rs 20.9 to 29.9 lakhs ( ex showroom price Delhi). BMW 1 series however is not alone in the luxury hatch sector. With rivals in form of Mercedes Benz A class and Volvo V40 Cross Country, it needs to prove its worth by offering something exceptional to succeed well in this niche segment.
On first quick glimpse, it looks like a standard hatchback but the BMW 1 series has a classic front-motored, rear wheel drive layout and that’s where it would appeal more to the driving enthusiasts. This is one German luxury car where you would love to get behind the steering wheel instead of being chauffeured around in.
A stretched bonnet, kidney shaped front grille and triangular twin barrel headlamps – the usual BMW features are noticed instantly. The 1 series does look elegant when viewed from the front. But move a little towards the sides and you will see somewhat odd proportions. That sleek and stretched bonnet is not quite in sync with a stout cabin. The sudden descend of the roofline down the plain rear also affects the car’s layout. There is nevertheless, some nice detailing thanks to a strong shoulder line, the accents in headlights (projector headlamps are not a part of base models), and the popular Hofmeister kink.
Step inside and you will see that the interiors do reflect class and refinement even though the base model (petrol driven 116i) is devoid of some gadgetry such as USB & Bluetooth connectivity and power adjustment for front seats. The top trim 118d Sportline Plus is loaded with goodies. It comes with all-leather electric seats, auto xenon lights, rain-sensing wipers and a sunroof. Consistent with BMW style, the dashboard has all important controls within reach of driver and is still uncluttered. There are large and clearly readable dials on the instrument panel. The central console is also skewed towards the driver. More refinement comes with metal finish on pedals and the chunky door handles.
The rear is comfortably spacious but the 1 series is largely a 4 seater - with a high transmission tunnel, it is little difficult for a 5th adult to sit in the middle. There is a spacious boot with 360 litres of volume.
BMW 1 series has one petrol variant – 116i -with 1598 cc 4 cylinder engine that can churn out up to 134 bhp at 4400 rpm and has 22.4 kgm of torque. There are three diesel driven trims – 118d, 118d Sport and 118d Sport Plus. These have a power of 140 bhp at 4000 rpm and torque of 32.6 kgm. It’s an 8 speed automatic gearbox for all the models.
Even if it’s a ‘luxury’ hatch, this car competes well with others in fuel economy category of its performance. The petrol powered 116i can go up to 16.28 km/litre and the diesel models have efficiency of up to 20.5 km/litre (company claimed).
Available in a range of colours including Alpine White, Black Sapphire, Deep Sea Blue, Crimson Red and Valencia Orange, the series is now the most affordable BMW in India.
The 1 series was recognised for its performance and it won the Auto Bild and Bild am Sonntag`s Golden Steering Wheel award in Berlin. It has been ranked at 2nd position in Upscale Small Cars by U.S. News.
Being a fun to drive and not a very expensive luxury vehicle, this stylish hatch will attract car enthusiasts who have been waiting to own a BMW in India.