New BMW 1 Series revealed: is it now the best posh hatchback? 

June 05, 2024 by

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This is the heavily revised BMW 1 Series, and it’s sporting a fresh look, new technology and a streamlined range of engines.

  • New BMW 1 Series revealed
  • Heavily revised version of posh hatchback
  • Simplified engine lineup with no more diesels
  • M135 is no faster than before…
  • …but it is almost £1,000 cheaper
  • On sale now with deliveries starting in October

BMW’s popular premium hatchback has been given a mid-life update to keep it looking fresh against alternatives like the Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3.

The refreshed 1 Series not only gets a nip-and-tuck makeover, the interior has also been overhauled and the range of engine options has been drastically simplified.

New BMW 1 Series design

The BMW 1 Series was never the prettiest of the posh German hatchbacks, that award goes to the Mercedes A-Class, however this updated version has been thoroughly revised to modernise the design.

New BMW 1 Series front

The most obvious change up front is to the grille, which is now a bit narrower and adopts a similar shape to cars like the new BMW X2. This, in conjunction with the re-jigged bumper, makes the car look a bit pinched, it almost resembles an ant eater. Still, at least the sleek new LED headlights are an improvement.

New BMW 1 Series rear

Not much has changed down the side of the car, apart from some new alloy wheel designs, however there are some more significant changes at the back. Those new tail lights look awfully similar to the X2’s, and the lower bumper has been updated with some new black trim.

New BMW M135 rear

BMW hasn’t forgotten about the sporty M135, with the hot hatch getting a different M Sport grille with horizontal slats, a more aggressive-looking bodykit and quad tailpipes at the rear. The old car had a twin-pipe setup, so this certainly looks more purposeful.

New BMW 1 Series engines and performance

The M135 may be packing more pipes, but sadly that doesn’t translate to more performance. The Audi S3 alternative still uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine putting out 300hp and 400Nm of torque, exactly the same figures as before.

New BMW M135 front driving

As a result, 0-60mph is dealt with in 4.9 seconds. That’s 0.1 of a second slower than the outgoing car, as well as being 0.2 of a second slower than the recently-revised Audi S3.

New BMW M135 rear driving

BMW has also massively streamlined the engine lineup for the rest of the 1 Series range. There are no diesels on offer anymore, in fact there’s just one option if you don’t fancy the M135. The 120 uses a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine with mild hybrid technology to boost efficiency. It puts out 170hp, and it’ll do 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds.

New BMW 1 Series side

Both models are available exclusively with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The M135 sends its power to all four wheels, while the 120 is front-wheel drive.

New BMW 1 Series interior and infotainment

Arguably the biggest change for the new BMW 1 Series can be found inside. The outgoing car has a solid but sombre cabin, while this new model has an overhauled interior which could give the Mercedes A-Class a run for its money in terms of design.

New BMW 1 Series interior

You now get a twin-screen setup inside – a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display and a 10.7-inch infotainment system – all behind one sheet of glass. This is the same system we’ve seen on cars like the BMW X2 and the 2 Series Active Tourer, and it’s a huge step up over the slightly dated screens you got in the old 1 Series.

New BMW 1 Series screen

The dashboard also now has a more swoopy shape to it, and the tri-coloured M Sport stitching livens things up nicely. A new steering wheel adds to the more modern appearance, however it’s not all good news. In pursuit of a contemporary and minimalist look, the physical climate control buttons of the old car have bitten the dust. All these functions are now done through the screen or through voice commands, which could prove fiddly to use on the move.

New BMW 1 Series price and release date

The new BMW 1 Series is available to order now, with first deliveries starting in October. Prices for the 120 model start from £29,950, which is only around £1,200 more than the outgoing car and £2,000 less than the new Audi A3.

If the souped-up M135 takes your fancy, that’ll cost you £41,000. That’s actually almost £1,000 cheaper than the old model, and it’s a healthy £7,000 less than the new Audi S3.

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