2019 BMW 1 Series Review – First Drive | carsales

When the original 1 Series was launched in
2004, BMW was careful to extol the virtues of its rear wheel driver driver’s car, but
now with the 1 Series going to front wheel drive, we’re keen to find out whether that
driver’s car credo still rings true or whether this is just another premium front wheel drive
hatch. The move to front wheel drive brings packaging
benefits to the 1 Series range that the previous model couldn’t match. There’s more back seat space, for example,
and a larger cargo bay as well. Up front there’s a little more headroom, and
a new dashboard that plays host to a range of new infotainment and driver safety technologies. Many of those technologies come straight from
the 3 Series, which makes the 1 Series the most technologically advanced that BMW has
ever built. Depending on the grade, the new 1 Series can
be operated by the iDrive controller, touchscreen, voice commands, or even your mobile phone. Equipment grades are generous and now span
four model grades, which BMW says will likely be available in Australia. But the biggest change to the 1 Series is
found under the bonnet. The engine is turned across the axle, driving
the front wheels in most models. There are no more six cylinder engines either. The range now offered with a choice of three
or four cylinder petrol and diesel units. All wheel drive models are offered higher
up the model walk, but only petrol powered models will be sold in Australia. Obviously the biggest change for the new 1
Series is the move from rear to front wheel drive. Now, BMW says that in this segment most customers
won’t mind, but is that true of the M135i? Well, of course, the M135i is all wheel drive,
so it’s not quite the shift that you would expect when you’re jumping from the rear wheel
drive predecessor. It is however a terrific little car to drive,
and based on the Mini UKL platform, you’ve got that natural go kart sportiness that you’d
expect, but the good thing is that it’s not too overdone. This is still a BMW and it feels quite refined
to drive and it’s a lot quieter than the old model to boot. One of the most pleasant changes jumping from
the M140i a few weeks ago into this M135i is just how refined the chassis feels, even
on lumpy bumpy roads like these ones. The chassis really does a great job of soaking
up imperfections in the surface, but at the same time telegraphing all that information
back to the driver. It really is still a very accurate driver’s
car. One of the other main differences that we
have in the 1 Series, especially in these sportier variants, is that we no longer have
a beautiful six cylinder engine driving the rear wheels. Of course, we now have a two litre four cylinder
turbocharged engine, which is the same on that’s found in the Mini GP. It’s got a fair bit of poke, about 306 horsepower,
and drives all four wheels via an eight speed transmission. It certainly has a bit of pep, but does it
have that same beautiful six cylinder soundtrack? Sadly, it really doesn’t. This does sound a little bit artificial under
acceleration, it’s a little bit fake, it’s a little bit tinny, but it’s certainly got
the performance. Automatic BMW 118i and M135i xDrive models
will go on sale locally later this year with pricing and full specifications to be announced
closer to that time.

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