THE latest generation of BMW's 1 Series hatchback will hit the roads of Britain in September and dealers are ready to take orders from this week.
The third generation 1 Series comes with a transverse engine layout and front wheel drive for the first time and, although it's marginally shorter than the previous model, it offers significantly more interior space particularly for rear seat passengers who benefit from more leg, head and elbow than before. Luggage space also increases and the new model can swallow 1200 litres of cargo with the rear seats folded.
Buyers are being offered a choice of three trim levels - SE, Sport and M Sport -plus a flagship M135i model. All variants comes with LED headlamps, cruise control, parking sensors, infotainment touchscreen with navigation, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, collision and pedestrian warning with city braking function, which also alerts the driver to the presence of cyclists, lane departure warning with steering impulse and speed limit information.
As is normal with BMW, there will be a wide selection of extra-cost add-ons depending on trim level, including Steptronic automatic transmission, three suspension options, head-up display, parking assistant, a panoramic roof and powered tailgate, but
Drivers who have been convinced by the dirty diesel debate will be able to choose from two petrol power units while those who are happy to stick with more economical oil burners will have a choice of three diesels, all of which, according to BMW, have lower emissions than before.
The entry level 118i, priced from £24,430, comes with a 1.5-litre, 140hp, three-cylinder, petrol engine which provides acceleration from zero to 62mph in 8.5 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 132mph. It posts combined fuel consumption of 47.1-40.4mpg with CO2 emissions of 123-114g/kg.
The only other petrol unit on offer is BMW's most powerful four-cylinder petrol engine to date which powers the Â£36,430 flagship M135i xDrive high-performance, four wheel drive model which comes as standard with eight-speed auto transmission. It will rocket from standstill to 62mph in a mere 4.8 seconds and go on to a limited top speed of 155mph. The newly developed two-litre, twin-turbo unit delivers 306hp and peak torque of 450Nm.
The entry level 116d diesel, costing from £25,480, is powered by a 1.5-litre, 116hp three-cylinder engine which provides a top speed of 124mph and a zero to 62mph benchmark time of 10.3 seconds.
Meanwhile the 118d and 120d xDrive, are powered by two-litre, four-cylinder diesel engines with 150 and 190bhp respectively. The 118d - from Â£26,640 - covers the 0-62mph sprint in 8.5 seconds and has a top speed of 135mph while the Â£32,470, 120d which comes in Sport trim with four wheel drive and eight-speed auto, accelerates from zero to 62mph in seven seconds reaching a top speed of 143mph.