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New BMW 1 Series spec reveals front-wheel drive

New third generation 1 Series brings front-wheel drive for the first time, increased efficiency and greater interior occupant space.

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Moving away from BMW’s rear-wheel drive setup that’s seen service in the first two generations of 1 Series, the new car will feature front-wheel drive as standard, with the option of all-wheel drive on two xDrive models.

There’s been a strong focus on fleet-friendly powertrains that have been updated to offer increased fuel economy, with three diesel engines and two petrol variants to choose from.

These range from from the entry-level 116d to the M135i xDrive. All engines meet the Euro 6d-TEMP emissions standard, while the 116d is already Euro 6d compliant.

Despite the move away from rear-wheel drive, BMW has adopted the BMW i3s’s ARB system that is said to control wheel slip more sensitively and swiftly than before and is a standard feature across the range. However, despite the adoption of technology from the electric car, there’s no word from BMW on the new 1 Series getting an electrified powertrain.

  • The new BMW 116d offers economy of between 67.3-74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 110-100g/km.
  • The new BMW 118d offers economy of between 64.2-68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 116-108g/km.
  • The new BMW 120d xDrive offers economy of between 60.1-62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 124-117g/km.
  • The new BMW 118i offers economy of between 49.6-56.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 129-114g/km.
  • The new BMW M135i xDrive offers economy of between 39.8-41.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 162-155g/km.

Thanks for the space-saving elements of moving to a front-wheel drive setup, the new 1 Series is roomier than its predecessor, particularly in the rear with extended kneeroom as well as extra headroom in the back. The boot is additionally 20 litres larger than the outgoing car’s, but more importantly is 67mm wider and for the first time has the option of being electrically powered.

Four equipment lines and one flagship model will adorn the new 1 Series at launch, starting with the base Advantage line. Luxury Line and Sport Line add different materials, while the M Sport model gets additional graphics and exterior design flourishes. The flagship M135i xDrive gets a mesh-design front grille and different tail pipes.

The new 1 Series has benefited from a host of options that have been inherited from its bigger brothers too, including features such as the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which allows commands to be verbally communicated to the car using the tag “Hey BMW” and enhances hands-free driving. In addition, a smartphone can be used as a key and automated parking assistance systems have made their way to the car too. Standard kit includes Lane Departure Warning system with active lane return.


Pricing for the new 1 Series is slightly higher than previous, with the entry-level diesel 116d costing £25,480. Similarly, the 118d has a base price of £26,640 and the 120d xDrive Sport is priced at £32,470. As for petrol models, the 118i costs £24,430, which is a £1,375 more than the outgoing 118i. Finally, the M135i xDrive costs £36,430.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.