Bmw Bmw 1 Series Hatchback 118i [136] Sport 5dr [Live Cockpit Professional]

Bluetooth / WiFi interface for wireless connection of mobile terminal devices and audio streaming
On board computer
Lane departure warning system
Cruise control with brake assist
Personal Profile
BMW Teleservices
Attentiveness assist
Active guard plus
Optimum shift indicator
Oil sensor for level and grade
Check Control warning system for monitoring of lights and door/luggage compartment open warning
Eco pro mode
Pull away assistant
Integrated owners handbook
BMW ConnectedDrive online services
Electric power steering with Servotronic steering optimised at all speed ranges
Rigidly mounted rear subframe - Multi link construction with separate spring / damper configuration and excellent driving characteristics
Front axle single joint with specific axle kinematics to minimise drive influences on steering + provide increased rigidity agile driving behaviour
Speed limit Info including no-overtaking indicator
6 speed manual transmission
Anti roll bar front and rear
Electronic differential lock
Drive Performance Control
Petrol Particulate Filter
High precision injection
Balancer shaft
VALVETRONIC engine management
Aluminium lightweight construction
Suspension with twin tube gas filled shock absorbers with degressive characteristic curve
Double VANOS twin scroll turbocharging system
Stereo speaker system with 2 mid range speakers in the front door trims and rear parcel shelf + 2 central bass speakers underneath the front seats
DAB Digital radio
Body colour door handles
High level third brake light
Automatic dimming rear view mirror
Follow me home headlights
Welcome lighting
LED daytime running lights
Body colour mirror caps
LED front fog lights
Shark fin antenna
Visible VIN plate
Rear fog lights
Front and rear bumper system with replaceable deformation elements
Rear window wiper
Lightweight engineering
Green tinted heat protection glazing
Front and rear electric windows with open and close fingertip control, anti trap facility and comfort closing
Direction indicator side lights in exterior mirrors
Nearside reverse light in rear light cluster
Manual headlight beam throw control
Heated, electrically adjustable exterior mirror aspheric on driver side, convex on passenger side
Body colour roof trims
Fading support
Matt black air guide grilles
Front bumper in Body colour with exclusive Sport air inlets finished in High gloss Black
Rear bumper in Body colour with exclusive Sport design elements finished in High gloss Black
Front door sill finishers in black plastic with M designation in metallic look
High gloss shadowline window frame, Recess cover mirror frames and B/C pillar embelisher trim
LED eyebrow turn indicators
Preparation for high beam assistant
Automatic windscreen wipers and automatic headlight
Integrated front windscreen with washer jets
Model designation on electric bootlid
Trailer stabilisation logic
Chrome exhaust twin tailpipes round 90mm in left
Kidney grille in chrome frame with highgloss black struts
Matt black wheel arch trim
Front sports seats
Height adjustable front head restraints
3 rear seat head restraints
Manual adjust steering wheel
Glove compartment
Front armrest
Multi-function controls for steering wheel
Folding rear clothes hook
Storage compartment in centre console
Front and rear door pockets with bottle holders
Conditioned based service
Velour floor mats
Four grab handles integrated in roof lining
Front and rear side armrest integrated into door trim
Two zone automatic air conditioning
Child seat ISOFIX attachment for two outer rear seats and front passenger seat with anchorage points
Sun visors with vanity mirrors and insert tab
12V power socket in front centre console with blanking plug
3 spoke sports leather steering wheel in black leather with black stitching and decorative finisher in pearl chrome + gearshift lever knob in leather
Two front centre console cupholders
Luggage compartment for bag hooks on left and right, foldable luggage compartment liner and two lashing eyelets
Interior lights pack - 1 Series
Connected pack professional - 1 Series
BMW live cockpit professional pack- 1 Series
Additional storage compartment pack with code 493 -1 series
Side impact protection
Seatbelt warning
Cornering brake control
Warning triangle and first aid kit
Tyre pressure monitoring system
Dynamic Traction Control - DTC
BMW emergency call
Brake drying
Front and rear disc brakes
2 tone horn
Driver and front passenger seat belt security check
Anti lock braking system (ABS) with brake assist
Braking readiness
3 point seatbelts on all seats, front pyrotechnic belt tensioners, stopper and belt force limiters, rear coded belt buckles
Child proof locking system in rear door
Crash sensor activating central locking release, hazard warning lights, fuel cut off, interior lighting + activation of safety battery terminal clamp
Electrically operated hand brake
Dynamic stability control + (DSC+)
Airbags - Front driver/passenger, front and rear curtain head protection, front side, manual deactivation of front passenger airbag
City braking function
Comfort modes
Locking wheel bolts
Central locking switch for all doors, fuel filler cap and luggage compartment
Thatcham Cat.1 alarm and immobiliser
Remote central locking with two Integrate key, one button for opening and closing all lock, open and close window, button for open luggage compartment
Deadlocking function system to all doors
Drive away locking system on all doors and luggage compartment with de-activated in iDrive settings
Wheel slip limitation close to the actuator (ARB)
Start/stop button illuminated in centre console with keyless engine start and auto start stop deactivation button
Contrast stitching on instrument panel
Illuminated Berlin interior trim
Reduced rolling resistance tyres
Electrically powered 12V compressor
CO2 131
Euro Emissions
NOX N/A
CC 1499
Compression Ratio 2081
Cylinder Layout In - Line
Cylinders 4 Cylinder
Fuel Delivery Turbo
Number of Valves 555
Gears 6
Transmission Manual
Combined 48.70
Urban 49.60
Extra Urban 47.10
Badge Engine CC 1499
Badge Power 136.00
NCAP Rating
Vehicle Homologation Class N/A
0 to 60 mph (Sec) 8.61
0 to 62 mph (Sec) 8.90
Engine BHP 136.00
Engine KW
Engine PS 1290
Engine Torque 220.00
Top Speed 132
Front Tyres 225/45 R17
Rear Tyres 225/45 R17
Spare Tyre TYRE REPAIR KIT
Height 1434
Length 4319
Wheel Base 2670
Width 1799
Fuel Tank Size 42.00
Weight 1845
Roof Load Limit
Towing Weight Braked 1290
Towing Weight Unbraked 680
Number Of Seats 5

Ten Second Review

BMW is a company that always used to try and do things differently, a refreshing trait in a sea of automotive sameness. The Bavarian brand's reputation as the purveyor of 'The Ultimate Driving Machine' was once fundamentally built around rear wheel drive but this third generation 1 Series is defiantly front-driven. A package that's claimed to be optimum in the base petrol 118i guise we test here.

Background

Why the change away from front wheel drive here? Well, lots of reasons really. BMW wanted more return for its investment in front-wheel drive architecture. And at the same time, the brand was uncomfortably aware of just how much the packaging limitations of rear wheel drive - cramped space for luggage and back seat passengers - were hobbling the 1 Series in comparison to its more conventional Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class rivals. All of which seemed a bit pointless given BMW's own research showing 80% of 1 Series owners not knowing what end their cars were driven from - and not caring either. The deal was sealed when the Bavarian maker's engineers assured the board that new technology could allow for a switch to front-wheel drive for this car without any real dilution in driving pleasure; we'll see. What's certainly true is that the change in drivetrain format has, as intended, freed up significantly more interior space than the previous 'F20' version of this car could offer, despite the fact that this 'F40'-series design's roadway footprint is much the same. Sounds promising. Time to put this car to the test in volume 118i form.

Driving Experience

The switch from rear-driven to a front-driven powertrain might be the headline story here but there's plenty else that's new with the engineering of this third generation 1 series design. The Bavarian maker's aim was to repackage this model to a more conventional formula but deliver that in a very BMW kind of way - and that's essentially how this car has turned out. On the move, you get a grippy, confident sense of purpose that rivals can't quite match, with precise, accurate steering and an agile willingness to change direction. All of it aided by near-perfect weight distribution, a clever new 'ARB' traction control system that more precisely meters out torque and a new 'FAAR' chassis that saves around 25kgs of weight. The ride is somewhat firm, but BMW fans won't mind that, particularly as there's now the option of adaptive suspension on top-spec models. It's quite likely that you'll opt for the base 1.5-litre petrol model we tried, the 140hp 118i variant we're trying here - not least because there aren't any other options if you want a reasonably affordable version of this car that fuels from the green pump. Just as well then, that it's a decent all-round package which offers as much performance as most buyers will probably need, the 62mph sprint occupying 8.5s en route to 132mph. To be frank, we've heard more charismatic three cylinder units, but at least this one's decently refined, bettering a comparable Mercedes A-Class in this regard at highway speeds.

Design and Build

We always wondered what kind of 1 Series BMW's stylists would have come up with if they hadn't been constrained by the need to package around rear-driven mechanicals. In this MK3 model, we have our answer, a hatch that offers a similar roadway footprint to its 'F20' predecessor (it's a mere 5mm shorter), but one delivered to an otherwise very different dimensional formula. Up-front, you're served up a premium slice of cabin architecture borrowed from the current 'G20' 3 Series model, which means it's very nice indeed. Soft-touch surfaces and the solid feel of all the fixtures and fittings is matched on plusher models by things like contrast stitching and intricate 'Extended lighting' door panel strips. There's plenty of luxury segment technology too, particularly if you pay more for the 'Live Cockpit Professional' package, which matches a 10.25-inch virtual instrument binnacle screen with a classy centre-dash iDrive monitor of the same size. There's some clever stuff incorporated into this extra-cost set-up, including what BMW calls an 'Intelligent Personal Assistant', which is there to answer questions you can voice to the car as you drive it. Out back, there's reasonable rear seat space (for two anyway) and a decent 380-litre boot.

Market and Model

Prices open at just under £25,000 for this 118i and you'll choose between the brand's familiar 'SE', 'Sport' and 'M Sport' designations. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, or you can pay £1,350 more to get a dual-clutch 7-speed auto. Even the thriftiest 'SE' trim level gives you plenty; to be specific, 16-inch Star-Spoke alloy wheels, LED headlamps, LED front fog lights, Park Distance Control front and rear parking sensors, heated power mirrors, an alarm and auto headlamps and wipers. There's also a package of 'Active Guard Plus' camera-safety features. Inside, there's automatic air conditioning, cruise control with a braking function, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and a 'Sport' multifunction leather-trimmed steering wheel. In addition, there's the 'Drive Performance Control' system that, via 'ECO PRO', 'Comfort' and 'Sport' modes, allows you to alter throttle response, steering feel and, on an auto model, gearchange timing, all of it better suiting the way you want to drive. You'll want to know about infotainment and media stuff too - there's lots of it. Let's start with the fact that all mainstream 1 Series models come as standard with the brand's 'BMW Live Cockpit Plus' package, which gives you an 8.8-inch centre-dash display, your access point for a navigation system, Bluetooth with audio streaming, 4G LTE connectivity, an on-board computer and a decent quality six-speaker 100-watt DAB stereo. There's also a 5.1-inch display in the instrument cluster and an Intelligent Voice Assistant.

Cost of Ownership

The engine range on offer across this third generation 1 Series line-up may not look very different to what was on offer before, but BMW is keen to point out that every single TwinPower Turbo unit has been subjected to significant efficiency fettling - as was necessary to match a class standard vastly improved since the days of the previous 'F20'-generation model. The three cylinder petrol unit we're trying here in this 118i variant for instance, is 5kgs lighter than it was previously. It all explains why the fuel and CO2 stats delivered by mainstream 1 Series models are now virtually identical to those of directly equivalent Mercedes A-Class variants - we know, we checked. Which is another way of saying that the stats of this BMW are difficult to better in the segment - which wasn't previously the case with this model line. Let's get specific with figures, all of which, as usual, are based around the WLTP readings for fuel and NEDC readings for CO2 that at the time of this test, the industry was working to. The 118i derivative in manual form manages up to 47.1mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and up to 122g/km of NEDC-rated CO2. Get it as an auto and the fuel figure is marginally different (up to 45.6mpg), but the CO2 reading is substantially better (113g/km).

Summary

We can't help being impressed by the way that the Munich maker has managed to retain so much of this car's eager, dynamic character, despite the fundamental engineering changes visited upon it. This model will still beat most of its rivals for driver appeal. Just not by such a significant margin as before. But we'll take that, given that this is the first 1 Series with reasonably sleek looks, proper rear passenger space and a decent boot. The cabin's far smarter than it was. And this model is certainly far better prepared than its predecessor in terms of media connectivity and camera-driven safety provision. Now, you'd be able to down-size into it far more easily if it was necessary to do so from a larger BMW model. In summary, 'der Einzer' has become a whole lot more competitive, especially in this 118i guise. About to choose a Mercedes A-Class, an Audi A3 or even a plusher VW Golf? You really ought to try one of these too. You might be surprised just how much you like it.

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Monthly Rental inc. VAT excl. VAT
£{{ mainPrice }} £208.68
Initial Rental inc. VAT excl. VAT
£{{ (mainPrice * upfront).toLocaleString() }} £1,878.12

Lease Type

Contract Length

Annual Mileage

Initial Rental (Months)

Head up Display £625.00 (ex. VAT)
Front and rear parking sensors Standard (ex. VAT)
Enhanced bluetooth with wireless charging £291.67 (ex. VAT)
BMW gesture control £250.00 (ex. VAT)
Park assist including reversing assistant, lateral parking aid and reversing assist camera £291.67 (ex. VAT)
Electric bootlid £416.67 (ex. VAT)
Larger fuel tank capacity (50 litres) £41.67 (ex. VAT)
42 Litre fuel tank Standard (ex. VAT)
Harman/Kardon surround sound audio system with 464W amplifier power, 9 channels and 16 speakers £625.00 (ex. VAT)
Metallic paint £495.83 (ex. VAT)
Towbar with detachable ball £625.00 (ex. VAT)
Solid paint Standard (ex. VAT)
Sun protection glass £250.00 (ex. VAT)
Electric panoramic glass sunroof £833.33 (ex. VAT)
LED Headlights Standard (ex. VAT)
BMW adaptive LED headlights £416.67 (ex. VAT)
Heated steering wheel £125.00 (ex. VAT)
Split folding rear seats £125.00 (ex. VAT)
Electric front seat adjustment - drivers with memory £625.00 (ex. VAT)
Manual adjust driver/passenger seats Standard (ex. VAT)
Driver + front passenger electric lumbar support £125.00 (ex. VAT)
Luggage compartment separating nets £125.00 (ex. VAT)
Dakota leather upholstery with perforation and contrast stitching £958.33 (ex. VAT)
Rear seat backrest with manual 60:40 split folding with 3 top tether clips integrated on rear of seat panels Standard (ex. VAT)
Nivala cloth/Sensatec leather upholstery Standard (ex. VAT)
Comfort pack 1 - 1 Series £500.00 (ex. VAT)
Comfort pack 2 - 1 Series £1191.67 (ex. VAT)
Technology pack - 1 Series £1250.00 (ex. VAT)
Technology pack with park assist - 1 Series £1041.67 (ex. VAT)
Solid - Alpine white Standard (ex. VAT)
Metallic - Mineral grey £495.83 (ex. VAT)
Solid - Jet black Standard (ex. VAT)
Metallic - Black sapphire £495.83 (ex. VAT)
Metallic - Sunset orange £495.83 (ex. VAT)
Metallic - Melbourne red £495.83 (ex. VAT)
Metallic - Mineral white £495.83 (ex. VAT)
Metallic - Glacier Silver £495.83 (ex. VAT)
Metallic - Snapper rocks blue £495.83 (ex. VAT)
Metallic - Seaside blue £466.67 (ex. VAT)
Metallic - Phytonic blue £495.83 (ex. VAT)
Comfort access system £358.33 (ex. VAT)
Dakota leather - Mocha £958.33 (ex. VAT)
Dakota leather - Black with grey highlight £958.33 (ex. VAT)
Dakota leather - Magma red with grey highlight £958.33 (ex. VAT)
Nivala cloth/Sensatec leather - Anthracite with grey highlight Standard (ex. VAT)
Nivala cloth/Sensatec leather - Anthracite with orange highlight Standard (ex. VAT)
Space saver spare wheel £125.00 (ex. VAT)
BMW mobility system Standard (ex. VAT)
17" Burnished double spoke alloy wheels finished in orbit grey - style 549 Standard (ex. VAT)
17" Burnished double spoke Bi-colour alloy wheels finished in orbit grey - style 548 £145.83 (ex. VAT)
18" Burnished Multi-spoke Bi-colour alloy wheels finished in orbit grey - style 488 £495.83 (ex. VAT)

Deal Summary

Monthly Rental inc. VAT excl. VAT
£{{ mainPrice }} £208.68
Initial Rental inc. VAT excl. VAT
£{{ (mainPrice * upfront).toLocaleString(undefined, {minimumFractionDigits: 2, maximumFractionDigits: 2}) }} £1,878.12
Processing Fee inc. VAT excl. VAT
£{{ (Number(deal.docs_fee) * 1.2).toLocaleString(undefined, {minimumFractionDigits: 2, maximumFractionDigits: 2}) }} £360.00 £{{ (Number(deal.docs_fee)).toLocaleString(undefined, {minimumFractionDigits: 2, maximumFractionDigits: 2}) }} £360.00
Options inc. VAT excl. VAT
£{{ extraPrice.toFixed(2) }}
Contract Type
{{ `${(leaseType == 2) ? 'Personal Lease' : 'Business Lease'}`}}
Contract Term
{{ leaseTerm}} months
Annual Mileage
{{ mileage }} miles
Maintenance

Important Information

  • Excess mileage charges will apply if you go over the stated contract mileage
  • Vehicle damage charges may occur if the vehicle is returned outside BVRLA's Fair Wear and Tear guidelines
  • All rentals are subject to the necessary finance acceptance criteria
  • Prices shown are indicative and subject to change.
  • No ownership option is available on this lease
  • Manufacturer's maintenance schedule must be observed and addiitional charges (to mileage) may apply for failure to maintain servicing and any non fair wear and tear damage to the vehicle

WLTP (with effect from April 2020) - Your quote also contains indicative CO2 or MPG values. The data could not be retreived while producing the quote, so we have based it on the lowest possible cost.

The quote will need to be updated with the accurate information before we can proceed to order. Written quotation upon request.

Bluetooth / WiFi interface for wireless connection of mobile terminal devices and audio streaming
On board computer
Lane departure warning system
Cruise control with brake assist
Personal Profile
BMW Teleservices
Attentiveness assist
Active guard plus
Optimum shift indicator
Oil sensor for level and grade
Check Control warning system for monitoring of lights and door/luggage compartment open warning
Eco pro mode
Pull away assistant
Integrated owners handbook
BMW ConnectedDrive online services
Electric power steering with Servotronic steering optimised at all speed ranges
Rigidly mounted rear subframe - Multi link construction with separate spring / damper configuration and excellent driving characteristics
Front axle single joint with specific axle kinematics to minimise drive influences on steering + provide increased rigidity agile driving behaviour
Speed limit Info including no-overtaking indicator
6 speed manual transmission
Anti roll bar front and rear
Electronic differential lock
Drive Performance Control
Petrol Particulate Filter
High precision injection
Balancer shaft
VALVETRONIC engine management
Aluminium lightweight construction
Suspension with twin tube gas filled shock absorbers with degressive characteristic curve
Double VANOS twin scroll turbocharging system
Stereo speaker system with 2 mid range speakers in the front door trims and rear parcel shelf + 2 central bass speakers underneath the front seats
DAB Digital radio
Body colour door handles
High level third brake light
Automatic dimming rear view mirror
Follow me home headlights
Welcome lighting
LED daytime running lights
Body colour mirror caps
LED front fog lights
Shark fin antenna
Visible VIN plate
Rear fog lights
Front and rear bumper system with replaceable deformation elements
Rear window wiper
Lightweight engineering
Green tinted heat protection glazing
Front and rear electric windows with open and close fingertip control, anti trap facility and comfort closing
Direction indicator side lights in exterior mirrors
Nearside reverse light in rear light cluster
Manual headlight beam throw control
Heated, electrically adjustable exterior mirror aspheric on driver side, convex on passenger side
Body colour roof trims
Fading support
Matt black air guide grilles
Front bumper in Body colour with exclusive Sport air inlets finished in High gloss Black
Rear bumper in Body colour with exclusive Sport design elements finished in High gloss Black
Front door sill finishers in black plastic with M designation in metallic look
High gloss shadowline window frame, Recess cover mirror frames and B/C pillar embelisher trim
LED eyebrow turn indicators
Preparation for high beam assistant
Automatic windscreen wipers and automatic headlight
Integrated front windscreen with washer jets
Model designation on electric bootlid
Trailer stabilisation logic
Chrome exhaust twin tailpipes round 90mm in left
Kidney grille in chrome frame with highgloss black struts
Matt black wheel arch trim
Front sports seats
Height adjustable front head restraints
3 rear seat head restraints
Manual adjust steering wheel
Glove compartment
Front armrest
Multi-function controls for steering wheel
Folding rear clothes hook
Storage compartment in centre console
Front and rear door pockets with bottle holders
Conditioned based service
Velour floor mats
Four grab handles integrated in roof lining
Front and rear side armrest integrated into door trim
Two zone automatic air conditioning
Child seat ISOFIX attachment for two outer rear seats and front passenger seat with anchorage points
Sun visors with vanity mirrors and insert tab
12V power socket in front centre console with blanking plug
3 spoke sports leather steering wheel in black leather with black stitching and decorative finisher in pearl chrome + gearshift lever knob in leather
Two front centre console cupholders
Luggage compartment for bag hooks on left and right, foldable luggage compartment liner and two lashing eyelets
Interior lights pack - 1 Series
Connected pack professional - 1 Series
BMW live cockpit professional pack- 1 Series
Additional storage compartment pack with code 493 -1 series
Side impact protection
Seatbelt warning
Cornering brake control
Warning triangle and first aid kit
Tyre pressure monitoring system
Dynamic Traction Control - DTC
BMW emergency call
Brake drying
Front and rear disc brakes
2 tone horn
Driver and front passenger seat belt security check
Anti lock braking system (ABS) with brake assist
Braking readiness
3 point seatbelts on all seats, front pyrotechnic belt tensioners, stopper and belt force limiters, rear coded belt buckles
Child proof locking system in rear door
Crash sensor activating central locking release, hazard warning lights, fuel cut off, interior lighting + activation of safety battery terminal clamp
Electrically operated hand brake
Dynamic stability control + (DSC+)
Airbags - Front driver/passenger, front and rear curtain head protection, front side, manual deactivation of front passenger airbag
City braking function
Comfort modes
Locking wheel bolts
Central locking switch for all doors, fuel filler cap and luggage compartment
Thatcham Cat.1 alarm and immobiliser
Remote central locking with two Integrate key, one button for opening and closing all lock, open and close window, button for open luggage compartment
Deadlocking function system to all doors
Drive away locking system on all doors and luggage compartment with de-activated in iDrive settings
Wheel slip limitation close to the actuator (ARB)
Start/stop button illuminated in centre console with keyless engine start and auto start stop deactivation button
Contrast stitching on instrument panel
Illuminated Berlin interior trim
Reduced rolling resistance tyres
Electrically powered 12V compressor
CO2 131
Euro Emissions
NOX N/A
CC 1499
Compression Ratio 2081
Cylinder Layout In - Line
Cylinders 4 Cylinder
Fuel Delivery Turbo
Number of Valves 555
Gears 6
Transmission Manual
Combined 48.70
Urban 49.60
Extra Urban 47.10
Badge Engine CC 1499
Badge Power 136.00
NCAP Rating
Vehicle Homologation Class N/A
0 to 60 mph (Sec) 8.61
0 to 62 mph (Sec) 8.90
Engine BHP 136.00
Engine KW
Engine PS 1290
Engine Torque 220.00
Top Speed 132
Front Tyres 225/45 R17
Rear Tyres 225/45 R17
Spare Tyre TYRE REPAIR KIT
Height 1434
Length 4319
Wheel Base 2670
Width 1799
Fuel Tank Size 42.00
Weight 1845
Roof Load Limit
Towing Weight Braked 1290
Towing Weight Unbraked 680
Number Of Seats 5

Ten Second Review

BMW is a company that always used to try and do things differently, a refreshing trait in a sea of automotive sameness. The Bavarian brand's reputation as the purveyor of 'The Ultimate Driving Machine' was once fundamentally built around rear wheel drive but this third generation 1 Series is defiantly front-driven. A package that's claimed to be optimum in the base petrol 118i guise we test here.

Background

Why the change away from front wheel drive here? Well, lots of reasons really. BMW wanted more return for its investment in front-wheel drive architecture. And at the same time, the brand was uncomfortably aware of just how much the packaging limitations of rear wheel drive - cramped space for luggage and back seat passengers - were hobbling the 1 Series in comparison to its more conventional Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class rivals. All of which seemed a bit pointless given BMW's own research showing 80% of 1 Series owners not knowing what end their cars were driven from - and not caring either. The deal was sealed when the Bavarian maker's engineers assured the board that new technology could allow for a switch to front-wheel drive for this car without any real dilution in driving pleasure; we'll see. What's certainly true is that the change in drivetrain format has, as intended, freed up significantly more interior space than the previous 'F20' version of this car could offer, despite the fact that this 'F40'-series design's roadway footprint is much the same. Sounds promising. Time to put this car to the test in volume 118i form.

Driving Experience

The switch from rear-driven to a front-driven powertrain might be the headline story here but there's plenty else that's new with the engineering of this third generation 1 series design. The Bavarian maker's aim was to repackage this model to a more conventional formula but deliver that in a very BMW kind of way - and that's essentially how this car has turned out. On the move, you get a grippy, confident sense of purpose that rivals can't quite match, with precise, accurate steering and an agile willingness to change direction. All of it aided by near-perfect weight distribution, a clever new 'ARB' traction control system that more precisely meters out torque and a new 'FAAR' chassis that saves around 25kgs of weight. The ride is somewhat firm, but BMW fans won't mind that, particularly as there's now the option of adaptive suspension on top-spec models. It's quite likely that you'll opt for the base 1.5-litre petrol model we tried, the 140hp 118i variant we're trying here - not least because there aren't any other options if you want a reasonably affordable version of this car that fuels from the green pump. Just as well then, that it's a decent all-round package which offers as much performance as most buyers will probably need, the 62mph sprint occupying 8.5s en route to 132mph. To be frank, we've heard more charismatic three cylinder units, but at least this one's decently refined, bettering a comparable Mercedes A-Class in this regard at highway speeds.

Design and Build

We always wondered what kind of 1 Series BMW's stylists would have come up with if they hadn't been constrained by the need to package around rear-driven mechanicals. In this MK3 model, we have our answer, a hatch that offers a similar roadway footprint to its 'F20' predecessor (it's a mere 5mm shorter), but one delivered to an otherwise very different dimensional formula. Up-front, you're served up a premium slice of cabin architecture borrowed from the current 'G20' 3 Series model, which means it's very nice indeed. Soft-touch surfaces and the solid feel of all the fixtures and fittings is matched on plusher models by things like contrast stitching and intricate 'Extended lighting' door panel strips. There's plenty of luxury segment technology too, particularly if you pay more for the 'Live Cockpit Professional' package, which matches a 10.25-inch virtual instrument binnacle screen with a classy centre-dash iDrive monitor of the same size. There's some clever stuff incorporated into this extra-cost set-up, including what BMW calls an 'Intelligent Personal Assistant', which is there to answer questions you can voice to the car as you drive it. Out back, there's reasonable rear seat space (for two anyway) and a decent 380-litre boot.

Market and Model

Prices open at just under £25,000 for this 118i and you'll choose between the brand's familiar 'SE', 'Sport' and 'M Sport' designations. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, or you can pay £1,350 more to get a dual-clutch 7-speed auto. Even the thriftiest 'SE' trim level gives you plenty; to be specific, 16-inch Star-Spoke alloy wheels, LED headlamps, LED front fog lights, Park Distance Control front and rear parking sensors, heated power mirrors, an alarm and auto headlamps and wipers. There's also a package of 'Active Guard Plus' camera-safety features. Inside, there's automatic air conditioning, cruise control with a braking function, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and a 'Sport' multifunction leather-trimmed steering wheel. In addition, there's the 'Drive Performance Control' system that, via 'ECO PRO', 'Comfort' and 'Sport' modes, allows you to alter throttle response, steering feel and, on an auto model, gearchange timing, all of it better suiting the way you want to drive. You'll want to know about infotainment and media stuff too - there's lots of it. Let's start with the fact that all mainstream 1 Series models come as standard with the brand's 'BMW Live Cockpit Plus' package, which gives you an 8.8-inch centre-dash display, your access point for a navigation system, Bluetooth with audio streaming, 4G LTE connectivity, an on-board computer and a decent quality six-speaker 100-watt DAB stereo. There's also a 5.1-inch display in the instrument cluster and an Intelligent Voice Assistant.

Cost of Ownership

The engine range on offer across this third generation 1 Series line-up may not look very different to what was on offer before, but BMW is keen to point out that every single TwinPower Turbo unit has been subjected to significant efficiency fettling - as was necessary to match a class standard vastly improved since the days of the previous 'F20'-generation model. The three cylinder petrol unit we're trying here in this 118i variant for instance, is 5kgs lighter than it was previously. It all explains why the fuel and CO2 stats delivered by mainstream 1 Series models are now virtually identical to those of directly equivalent Mercedes A-Class variants - we know, we checked. Which is another way of saying that the stats of this BMW are difficult to better in the segment - which wasn't previously the case with this model line. Let's get specific with figures, all of which, as usual, are based around the WLTP readings for fuel and NEDC readings for CO2 that at the time of this test, the industry was working to. The 118i derivative in manual form manages up to 47.1mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and up to 122g/km of NEDC-rated CO2. Get it as an auto and the fuel figure is marginally different (up to 45.6mpg), but the CO2 reading is substantially better (113g/km).

Summary

We can't help being impressed by the way that the Munich maker has managed to retain so much of this car's eager, dynamic character, despite the fundamental engineering changes visited upon it. This model will still beat most of its rivals for driver appeal. Just not by such a significant margin as before. But we'll take that, given that this is the first 1 Series with reasonably sleek looks, proper rear passenger space and a decent boot. The cabin's far smarter than it was. And this model is certainly far better prepared than its predecessor in terms of media connectivity and camera-driven safety provision. Now, you'd be able to down-size into it far more easily if it was necessary to do so from a larger BMW model. In summary, 'der Einzer' has become a whole lot more competitive, especially in this 118i guise. About to choose a Mercedes A-Class, an Audi A3 or even a plusher VW Golf? You really ought to try one of these too. You might be surprised just how much you like it.

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