2019 BMW 1 Series: everything you need to know
Featuring a front-wheel drive platform for the first time, a complete exterior redesign and tonnes of new tech, here’s all you need to know about BMW’s most compact model…
Externally, there’s been a lot of changes. Up front, a much more prominent grille is now present – it’s not quite the size of the X7’s, but the larger kidney grille is now much more in-keeping with the latest BMW products.
The headlight arrangement has also been redesigned, and BMW claim it has a more ‘wedge-shaped’ silhouette than its predecessor. The window line is also higher than before, while BMW’s trademark Hofmeister kink is incorporated into the C Pillar.
A range of new alloy wheel designs are available – up to 19in depending on trim level. All in all the styling is very much an evolution of the outgoing car, but whether its look will appeal to people as much as the Mercedes A-Class has done remains to be seen.
On the inside, the cabin is very driver-orientated as is the BMW way. It’s also more spacious than before, offering 19mm more rear headroom and 42mm more elbow room in the front. Luggage capacity has risen to 380 litres, while an electrically operated boot lid is available for the first time.
Infotainment-wise, the new 1 Series features BMW’s latest iDrive sytem that’s operated via a 9in touchscreen angled towards the driver. A 10in screen is also available, as is gesture control. If you decide to opt for the bigger screen you’ll also get a digital driver display that replaces analogue dials in front of the driver.
BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant is also available – it’s much like Mercedes’ MBUX ‘Hey Mercedes!’ system. It allows you to operate things such as the satnav, climate control and heating by saying ‘Hey BMW’ and without interacting with the infotainment screen and controls themselves.
Trim levels from launch will include SE, Sport and M Sport. Exact specs are to be confirmed but things like LED headlights, parking sensors and cruise control are standard across the range.
The biggest news, however, is that the new 1 Series features a front-wheel drive platform rather than BMW’s traditional rear-wheel drive layout. While this is likely to be contentious for some who prioritise driver involvement above anything else, the new platform has been designed to retain BMW’s driver-orientated characteristics.
UK customers get a choice of two petrol and three diesel engines, with the range kicking off with the 1.5-litre 118i. This produces 140hp and can get the 1 Series from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. A 1.5-litre diesel badged as the 116d gets 117hp and a 0-62mph time of 10.3 seconds, although it can return more than 70mpg.
The 118d is a 2.0-litre diesel with 150hp and a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds, while a more potent version of this engine is found in the 120d xDrive Sport which gets four-wheel drive. A six-speed manual is standard on the lower powered models, while automatic gearboxes are available across the range.
The M135i xDrive (pictured above) is the model that’ll top the range. It features a 308hp four-cylinder turbo petrol engine – enough for a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.
It’s aimed to rival the likes of the VW Golf R and new Mercedes-AMG A35 and gets sports additions such as a limited-slip diff to improve traction, a sports suspension set-up and a 50:50 front-rear power split. This model also gets its own design tweaks such as a mesh-style front grille, large 18in alloy wheels and a rear spoiler.
The BMW 1 Series is likely to be priced from around £24k when it arrives later in the year. We’ll bring you more info as the car nears its launch.