It’s hard to believe that many were initially reluctant about the notion of a BMW hatchback. Since the 1 Series was birthed a decade ago, it has enjoyed sales of almost two million units.
The Bavarian automaker has taken heed to criticisms around the styling of their compact offering. A thoroughly upgraded model is set to arrive in South Africa towards the middle of the year.
Up front, those trademark kidney grilles are narrower and wider. BMW describes the new headlights as having “flatter geometry” – however you put it, they certainly give the car a less stunned appearance. It looks a bit more serious.
The rear lights of the current 1 Series have garnered flak for their similarity to those of the Volkswagen Polo’s. That’s changed on the new one, with more traditional L-shaped units boasting LED illumination.
BMW will also be (slightly) more generous with the standard kit. Automatic air-conditioning, rain-sensing wipers and the iDrive digital interface will be part of the mix across the board. But you will still be able to pick from a range of styling lines: Advantage, Sport, Urban and M Sport.
New engines join the range, including the three-cylinder, turbocharged mill that our market first experienced in the new Mini. The top-tier M135i gains 5kW, taking things to 240kW and there’s a new M135i xDrive derivative which claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 4,7 seconds. If it arrives, it would make a venerable competitor to the likes of the Audi S3 and Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG.
And finally, 1 Series buyers will also be able to specify a host of new assistance systems. That includes radar-based active cruise control, BMW’s latest generation parking assistant and online services.