BMW 1 Series Review: Brat Car
Launching small cars has not been limited to main stream car makers as even premium players are showing active interest in this segment. With such cars, companies are targeting new set of customers.
India has evolved to become a brand conscious country and owning a premium car has become a status choice. As global exposure has increased, the aspiration for possessing niche cars has also increased.
The A-Class, Q3S and V40 are some of the entry level premium cars which Mercedes Benz, Audi and Volvo introduced in the Indian market. All these cars have been received very nicely and have urged other car makers too to bring such offerings.
BMW, who are the official promoters of Driving Pleasure, launched their 1 Series in this segment. This entry level hatch is a small car in dimension but then one peek under the hood and the 143Hp – 320Nm motor reveals a different side. Does this Bimmer drive like the rest?, We find out.
The 1 Series comes across as a very “built for a purpose” looking car. It does not look as petite and classy as the A Class. Instead, BMW chose to keep the 1 Series a humble looking car. The company went ahead with the belief that there are some who value a person by heart rather than outside looks.
Parked across in a mall parking and many can mistake it for the Volkswagen Polo. Close in, observe it and the design lines begin to grow on you. For starters, it has the iconic kidney grille finished in high gloss black and then comes the headlamps which look different than a normal BMW. Unlike other Bimmers, the 1 Series does not look angry. This attribute might impress the fighters of peace but then for loyal BMW fans, this might be a problem.
The evident bulge and flowing hood line looks similar to that on the Z4. The 1 Series does not look like a typical hatchback. The longish wheelbase and sloping roofline makes it look like a sporty low-slung station wagon with an extra overhang in the rear. The 5 spoke alloy wheels along with those low profile wide tyres make it look impressive and sporty.
The rear profile of the 1 Series unfortunately does not create any excitement. It is too much Plain Jane. It is very unlike a BMW especially when you compare it with the new 3 Series, 5 Series etc which have looks to kill for. This section looks like any other hatchback sold in India.
From outside the BMW 1 Series does not create lot of interest because of simple minimal design lines. It misses the flamboyant lines which its siblings are famous for. If only, one decides to splurge more on the stock car and get the M Performance Kit, things might look different.
Inside the 1 Series, it is a familiar territory. It is very impressive to see how BMW managed to squeeze in its famous interior design from its bigger models into this compact hatchback. The quality of interiors is top notch.
There are not many gizmos and buttons to play around with inside the 1 series. The most premium variant gets electrically adjustable front seats. The seats are extremely well bolstered. They are very comfortable when driving in the city as on highways the thick sporty bolstering is not too helpful. It gets a very convenient under thigh support for front passengers. The rear passengers might not enjoy the zone for long. It can comfortably house 2 passengers and not more because of the transmission tunnel.
The headroom has no complaining to do. Despite the 1 Series having a low roof line, the headroom area for both the front and rear passengers is impressive. The greenhouse area is also generous. Both row passengers get a clear vision of the surrounding. The kneeroom for taller passengers seated in the rear is not much and the same issue is seen on competition models too.
The steering wheel has controls to operate the entertainment system as well as Bluetooth telephony. The steering wheel is only reach and not rake adjustable. There is a 16.5 cm TFT screen mounted on the dashboard and the iDrive system controls it. It gets 2-Zone air conditioner and also has rear AC vents.
The front passenger doors have provisions to hold litre class containers while the rear doors can house only miscellaneous articles and items. Even under the front arm rest there is ample area to store parking tickets and other articles. It has a grand boot which can take sufficient luggage for the entire weekend.
The interiors of the 1 Series are very functional. The leather quality, cushioning of seats and multiple features are very premium. It could have done with some more lines but then that defeats its brand image.
It is a BMW finally, so ride and handling has to be its forte. The 1 series when compared to its rivals is the only rear wheel drive car. This made things look interesting as rear wheel drive performance cars are a treat to drive. It feels like a cockpit when seated on the driver’s seat. BMW cars have always enjoyed the reputation of being a driver’s delight and the 1 Series with its performance and handling claims to do that just fine.
It has a 1995cc TwinPower Turbo four-cylinder diesel engine which produces 143Hp of power at 4000 rpm and 320Nm of torque at 1750 to 2500 rpm. It also gets an 8 speed Steptronic transmission. The diesel engine in the 1 Series is very smooth and the engine noise does not seep inside the cabin even at higher engine speeds.
At initial engine speeds, the 1 may not seem as dynamic as the other two mentioned but then once it exits the lower range and enters mid range the transformation is evident. The 225/45 R17 tyres make sure one gets precise output according to the tap on the accelerator. The 50:50 weight distribution contributes to it tightly holding around corners.
As soon as the turbo kicks in and the rev needle crosses 3k mark, the hot hatch side of the 1 comes alive. On flat out sections, it feels strong only at higher engine speeds when the engine peaks its performance. The low slung roof line and a shape like that brings down air resistance and the 1 manages to swim across with great confidence.
The steering wheel also offers great feedback and manages to hold the vehicle very confidently during any type of manoeuvre. Thankfully, the steering wheel does not multi task like other cars and responsibilities of steering and powering the vehicle have been very well distributed.
The suspension setup offers soft ride rather than the conventional stiff setup. It is in fact softer than the A Class. Longitudinally mounted engine, soft suspension and rear wheel drive with equal weight distribution between front and rear axles makes sure the 1 carries forward the best handling tradition. Even braking remains at its crisp best.
Unlike other cars, who act like good boys and deliver performance as and when asked, the 1 Series is one of the smart Brattish boys who deliver according to their own mood. One has to take serious efforts to squeeze out the best from the 1 Series which makes it very exciting. It is clearly one of the best dynamic BMWs.
|Dimensions in mm|
|Claimed fuel efficiency in KMPL||20|
|Tyre size Front||205/55 R16|
|Tyre size Rear||205/55 R16|
|Top speed KMPH||250|
|Tank capacity in Liters||52|
|Kerb Weight (Kg)||1370|
|Turning circle Radius||5.5|
|Boot Capacty in Lters||370|
|Ex showroom Mumbai in Rs||24,06,000|
|BMW Efficient dynamics|
|Steptronic 8-Speed Automatic Transmission|
|Electric power steering|
|Brake energy Regeneration|
|Intelligent Light weight construction|
|Auto Start/Stop function|
|ECO PRO Mode|
|BMW Restraint system|
|Dynamic Stability Control|
|Passenger cell system|
|Run flat tyres and run flat indicator|
|The front and rear bumpers|
|Electric seat adjustment with memory|
|Interior high gloss trim with exclusive Accents|
|Sport leather steering wheel|
|Chrome surrounds climate and radio controls|
|BMW Performance package|
|Better aerodynamics includingair intakes,splitters,front bumper components|
|rear diffuser,blades for side sills|
|BMW Performance front grille black|
|Front ornamental grille in black featurestwo black ornamental rods, ornamental rings|
|Top stripes black or white|
|rear spoiler and tail fins|
|Black line rear lights|
|carbon interior trim with Alcantara|
|Stainless steel pedal caps and matcing footrest|
|Media(with fan)snap-in adapter|
|Tablet DVD system|
|Infrared stereo headphone|
|Music adapter for Apple i-pod|
|Travel and comfort system|
|Coat hanger system|
|Rear storage bag|
|All weather floor mats|
|Base carrier for system attachment|
|Cradle for Apple iPad|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||118d||A 180 CDI Style||D3|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Claimed fuel efficiency in KMPL||20||18||12|
|Tyre size Front||205/55 R16||225/45 R17||115/90 R16|
|Tyre size Rear||205/55 R16||225/45 R17||115/90 R16|
|Top speed KMPH||250||190|
|Tank capacity in Liters||52||61||60|
|Kerb Weight (Kg)||1370||1505||1587|
|Turning circle Radius||5.5||5.5||5.4|
|Boot Capacty in Lters||370||341||324|
|Ex showroom Mumbai in Rs||24,06,000||23,02,000||29,89,000|
The 1 Series brings around mixed reactions among all and there are many reasons for it. It is a BMW and so it is clearly a very driver-centric car. It is for those who don’t like to be chauffeured and instead love to drive themselves. This clearly attracts the young and the ambitious who want a performance compact car with great handling potential.
BMW also offers the M Power kit on the 1 Series for those who would complain about the lack of features in this hatch. The simple looks of the 1 can be transformed into a mean looking German street race car. Throw in those stripes and exhaust in it and the 1 can look, feel and sound like none other.
The only area where it pinches hard is the price. It is more expensive than its closest rival A Class and the latter offers more in terms of an overall package. Also, at a similar price you might consider getting the 3 Series which is a different breed altogether.
But if you can manage to see beyond the trivial details and complications and want a functional premium hatch, the 1 Series does its job pretty neat and its German so precision engineering and impressive performance come as a default package.