BMW 1 Series Preview

Read CarAdvice's review of the all-new BMW 1 Series.
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CarAdvice is at the Australian launch of the all-new BMW 1 Series in Melbourne.

The second-generation compact luxury hatch has been completely redesigned inside and out, taking styling cues from the larger 5 and 7 Series models and displaying a more mature and assertive (although admittedly polarising) presence. The new 1 Series is 85mm longer than before – with an extra 30mm between the wheels for added rear-passenger comfort – and now offers 10 per cent more boot space (360 litres).

BMW Australia has confirmed the addition of a new entry-level model will make the 1 Series more accessible than ever before. The 116i will be priced from just $36,900 before on-road costs, making it $2100 cheaper than the current base model. The new starting price means its also undercuts its direct rivals in the premium small class, including the Alfa Romeo Giulietta ($36,990), Mercedes-Benz B-Class ($37,875), Audi A3 ($39,990), and the Lexus CT 200h ($39,990).

The 116i is powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 100kW and 220Nm of torque. It will use as little as 5.7 litres/100km of fuel on the combined cycle, representing a 24 per cent improvement over the old base model.

The next model up – the 118i – scores a higher tune of the same engine, generating 125kW of power and a punchy 250Nm. Acceleration from 0-100km/h takes just 7.4 seconds. The sole diesel-powered model is the 118d, which features a 105kW/320Nm 2.0-litre engine, and promises economy of just 4.5 litres/100km.

All engines are available with a six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed automatic, which is unprecedented for a small car. Power is sent to the rear wheels, with the new model promising to build on the sporty driving dynamics of the first-generation car.

The standard features list also sounds impressive, with BMW Australia confirming the 116i will feature a 6.5-inch central colour display, iDrive controller, Bluetooth, cruise control with brake function, push-button start, automatic stop/start and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Owners will be able to personalise the look of their new 1 Series, with two distinct optional styling packages – Urban and Sport – and they will also be able to personalise their drive, with BMW’s Driving Experience Control function offering three unique ride and responsiveness modes – Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro.

For the first time, the all-new BMW 1 Series will also be available optionally with Lane Departure Warning, Parking Assistant, and a rear-view camera.

On paper, the new 1 Series looks set to make a big impression on Australia’s small car market.

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