Since the introduction of the first 1 Series generation ten years ago, BMW have sold nearly 2 million of the models; something that they are looking to build on as they release their 2015 version to the world at the end of March.
Their latest version takes the already winning formula of its three- and five-door predecessors and adds in the new BMW power units, some additional EfficientDynamics technologies as standard, some tasteful and carefully crafted enhancements to the design of both the exterior and interior, and even more to the standard equipment, including new mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive; all designed to "increase the functionality and personalisation of the new BMW 1 Series."
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a maxim that has been applied to the BMW Series 1 2015 version with the proportions, lines and surface design all carrying the classical hallmarks of a BMW, the set-back passenger compartment, long bonnet and short overhangs, in particular, giving it a uniquely sporting presence. But there are some key refinements to the overall package to bring it up to date and to increase the attraction of an iconic car.
Right at the front we can see that the apron is set lower, has larger air intakes, a horizontal bar, reshaped BMW kidney grilles and new headlamps with LED daytime driving lights as standard on all models - with both full LED headlamps with low and main beam and Adaptive LED headlamps available as options for the first time. At the rear, the LED revolution continues with new tail lamps in a familiar BMW ‘L’ shape design.
The interior design, like the exterior, has mere refinements, this time to increase comfort and the whole driving experience. It is more driver-focused and an even more welcoming, sporty, comfortable place to sit, with a new cloth fabric on the seats - and then there's the changes to the drive itself from the point of view of the driver and his 'instruments'.
All new BMW 1 Series models now feature the BMW Radio Professional and iDrive operating system that is standard across the entire BMW range with the freestanding, 6.5" Control Display, the controller wheel and the direct menu control and favourites buttons mounted on the centre console. (A larger 8.8" display and touch-sensitive surface is included if the optional Professional Navigation system is fitted.)
The controls themselves have been refined in looks with both the air vents and the controls for the radio and the automatic air conditioning now surrounded in chrome with the radio and automatic air conditioning keypads set against high-gloss black panelling.
The new BMW 1 Series for 2015 sees the introduction of powerplants from the BMW Group’s new engine family as well as the expansion of the standard-fit BMW EfficientDynamics technology.
With the new engines comes a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 12% with no compromise in response or power, and a reduction in harmful emissions too - ensuring that all engines meet the Euro 6 exhaust emissions standard.
The majority of new BMW 1 Series models are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with the 120d xDrive offering up the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox as standard for improved internal efficiency, longer gear ratios, optimised transmission management and vibration dampening.
An eight-speed Sport Automatic transmission with faster gearchanges, shift paddles on the steering wheel and a Launch Control function is standard on the BMW 125d and is also available as an option for the BMW 125i, BMW M135i, BMW 120d and BMW 120d xDrive models.
The BMW Series 1 118i and BMW Series 1 120i are both powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that develops 136hp and 170hp respectively, with a 0-62mph acceleration as low as 7.2 seconds in the 120i and with fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of just 52.3mpg and 125g/km in the 118i.
The Series 1 125i carries a four-cylinder engine that features a 2.0-litre displacement, providing 218hp and peak torque of 310Nm, with a 0-62mph time of just 6.2 seconds.
At the top of the petrol engine range BMW have maintained the formidable M135i with its turbocharged straight-six engine; but this time with power increased to 326hp, with peak torque of 450Nm. Acceleration on this model is a 0-62mph time of just 4.9 seconds, yet the car has the ability to return 37.7mpg.
The new BMW Series 1 116d has a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that generates 116hp and 270Nm of torque, a 0-62mph time of 10.3 seconds, fuel consumption as little as 78.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 94g/km - figures that can be improved yet further with the 116d EfficientDynamics Plus model which manages 83.1mpg with CO2 emissions of just 89g/km.
The new four-cylinder diesel engine used in the latest BMW 1 Series is available in three versions: the 118d that generates 150hp and 330Nm of torque, the 120d with its 190hp and 400Nm, and the 125d, by using its multi-stage turbocharging, providing a very impressive 224hp with 450Nm of torque. The 125d can achieve acceleration from 0-62mph in just 6.3 seconds, with the 118d achieving a fuel consumption figure of just 74.3mpg, the 125d managing a highly credible 61.4mpg.
The new BMW 1 Series features an expanded range of BMW EfficientDynamics features that includes Brake Energy Regeneration, Electric Power Steering, Optimum Gearshift Indicator and an Auto Start Stop function all as standard, and also includes ECO PRO mode, which can be activated using the included Driving Experience Control switch.
Three trims are available – SE, Sport and M Sport - each with their own generous range of standard equipment that includes remote control central locking, keyless engine ignition, electric window controls, electrically heated exterior mirrors, a Driving Experience Control switch, automatic air conditioning, a multi-function leather steering wheel adjustable for height and reach, a rain sensor including automatic driving lights control, a front passenger airbag that can be deactivated, 16" alloy wheels, extended storage, sliding front armrest and fog lights.
For infotainment purposes the BMW Series 1 offers as standard BMW Radio Professional with CD player with DAB, six loudspeakers and an AUX-In socket, and Bluetooth audio streaming functionality.
Specification options include 17" alloy wheels, ambient lighting, black high-gloss interior trim, Sport exterior styling elements, Sport steering wheel and Sports seats, 18" M Sport alloy wheels, aluminium hexagon interior trim, M Aerodynamic body styling, M Sport suspension, Sport seats, Alcantara upholstery and an M Sport leather steering wheel.
Also available as options are electrically adjustable and heated seats for the driver and front passenger, two-zone automatic air conditioning, a heated steering wheel and the Harman Kardon Hi-Fi system, complete with 12 loudspeakers and a digital amplifier with 360-watt output.
BMW ConnectedDrive comes as standard with a SIM card embedded in the car, as a mobile phone connection is required to make use of the (also standard) Intelligent Emergency Call and BMW TeleServices functions, as well as the optional internet-based services that includes the BMW Online internet portal, as well as the Concierge Services personal information service, Remote Services and Real Time Traffic information. Using the embedded SIM card or their own smartphone, drivers can also integrate app functions into their car .
The BMW Series 1 also includes driver aid technology such as Parking Assistant and Park Distance Control (PDC) amongst many others, with a rear-view camera, High Beam Assistant, Speed Limit Info including No Passing Info display and the Driving Assistant (comprising of the camera-based Lane Departure Warning and Collision Warning systems as well as the Attention Assistant feature) all available as options.
The new BMW 1 Series is available from 28 March, 2015 in both three-door and five-door versions.
Worth the wait, I would say.