It’s almost impossible to mention the new one series without the mention. FWD platform UKL2 that underpins the likes of Mini and X1. The New and of us right now only other option other than the New M135i in SA before 2020. You see the issue is the niceness of the 1 series was always the RWD and chassis combination, it allowed for the joy that at a point was only reserved to a select group of vehicles given the layout. 50:50 weight distribution, RWD, 6-speed manual option across the range, it was rather brilliant given a meagre 116i offered a driving experience that was comparably better than most in class. More engaging than an A3, less dull than a Golf and still a premium badge.
Now Power comes from a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder that produces 105Kw and 190nm mated to an 8-speed auto. Longitudinally mounted engines by nature need a longer bonnet and thusly a shorter hood gives way to the familiar face with the larger grill. F-series 1 mantra may have carried RWD DNA but by no means does that render the 1 series a terrible car. What may be lacking in the ability to create some variation of driver engagement and with enough stabs at the DSC button some pretty interesting moments now days gone.
The new Platform results in the 2-series active tourer (MPV) are not shared and can be translated into this model. That means That’s the first collection of thoughts one comes to when you climb into the driver’s seat. The low, planted seating position is a bit off in comparison to the previous model but the sense of overall space in the cabin is vast. Not that it’s a much bigger car but the change in the profile means the cramped, and somewhat dark feeling is no longer exists. More arm room, light and overall spatial confinement are gone. In an RWD hatch, The boot given the limited space needs to accommodate for differentials, transmission tunnels and as a direct result, one has a smaller boot and less rear legroom. Rear seat passengers need not be limited to short people or children given the reason you still bought the car was the cause of this appeal, has grown to 380litres leading its class.
Tech! oh glorious Tech, towards the runout of this model the interior began to feel dated, granted all the features one would expect-generosity with the options list required- but the new cabin leans heavily on the new BMW synergy that all the models share. You still get a lovely thick leather wheel and BMW’s Live Cockpit pro (R26 900) is at its most refined yet, the Heads up display, and wireless charging very nice options to have but can be ditched through better selection with options, for example, saving you about R12k, therefore once again careful with the options. It’s on par with the likes of MBUX and the long list of connectivity offered with its gesture control trinkets to top it off.
On the Road the new 1 – series is rather composed and not lacking in anything with respects to the drive. Its planted and drives as a “BMW would”. A statement very true despite FWD but at this point, you should understand the importance of holding on to this is a bit silly now. Expansion of the range is obviously to follow but the important thing to understand is the move to FWD has changed the car into a bit of a more serious contender although for the more mundane models making them somewhat cut and paste by the previous mantra. The new model is a vast improvement, yes but having not yet driven the M135i X-drive but the engines vast power leads to some interesting thoughts of hope and interesting competition to the A35 which at present big brother A45 and A45 S BMW has no answer to, and given the extensive focus on M2 and it still holding on to RWD through to the next generation hope should not be lost Purists.
Prices start at R481 909.51 for the standard 118i rising to Sport R502 609, M Sport R514 609 models respectively