When BMW usually launch a new small car, we expect to find a MINI badge adorned across the front. However it is time for a refresh on the hugely successful 1 Series. We head through the English countryside to test drive the new BMW M135i for our review.
The new 1 Series has been changed in pretty much every way. From transverse engines to new colours and trim, the newly engineered 1 Series is now available in the UK for all to test. With fresh aesthetic appeal, captivating dynamism and a wealth of fascinating details the new car does not disappoint visually or to the touch. The taller, wider but slightly shorter new car is beautifully proportioned. With the engine mounted transversely, the larger dimensions ensure the extra space is used wisely with the cabin increasingly massively. You feel more like you are sat in the driving seat of a 3 Series than a 1.
There are many updates to the drivers view bringing the BMW interior right up to date with a full TFT screen behind the wheel and an option for a full colour heads up display. Apple Car Play is now as standard and host of top level options available including gesture control, Smart Key with Samsung phones and “Hey BMW” – an in built assistant which intuitively guides you around the on board controls.
BMWs new digital eco system is very impressive and it certainly makes you feel in control and is a very nice place to be. The seating feels sporty but comfy, that balance which is not easily designed into any sporty car. The steering wheel is where is should be and visibility is much better than the outgoing model.
As time goes by, petrol engines seem to get smaller but more powerful and even better fuel efficiency. Now it may seem that witchcraft is involved but I assure you it’s all through clever engineering. BMW has managed to pull 301bhp of power from this four-cylinder petrol engine and managed to push it through all four wheels. The clever dynamics of the four-wheel-drive system allow ultimate power with the ultimate fun that BMW has always been famed for. The Ultimate joy machine is still here.
In a the near perfect world we have the increased power, a car with improved control from the new four-wheel-drive system and the decreased emissions as promised. I can report back that the car is your dream to drive and does not disappoint. The driving dynamics allow you to drive the car like you were born to with no chance of you looking silly by overstepping in previous RWD cars. The different drive selections do make a difference and you will find yourself using them all from eco and all the way through to the sport for more dynamic situations.
However and unfortunately there is a however, with the decreased engine size and the new WLTP regulations my only regret is the sound of the engine does not match its performance. This is completely out of BMW’s control and I understand the regulations are limiting the feedback and what my ears actually do desire. That really is my only negative, the car is great and I would buy one even though the sound track does not meet my expectations and just feels a little flat.
Available now in only a five door model, the 1 Series range has two petrol and three diesel options. Which I thought was a curious move by BMW but maybe it leaves space for a PHEV or even a full electric model in the future.
OTR the 118i SE starts at £24,430 and the flagship M135i (Yes for some reason they have gone back to 135 from 140) is a whopping £36,430 as driven.
In conclusion, all but one of the hot hatch boxes is ticked. The new BMW lacks a little character but makes up for that in extra space and updated features. Its peach of a hot hatch and BMW are trying to attach a younger buyer to the brand by keeping it so.
BMW M135i 2019 Review Model Driven:
Model: BMW M135i xDrive
Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyls turbo petrol
Transmission: 8-speed auto, four-wheel drive
0-62mph/Top speed: 4.8s/155mph
Fuel economy/CO2: 41.0mpg/155g/km
On sale: Now