BMW 1 Series 2015-2019 review

Open gallery Close by Matt Saunders 1 June 2015 Follow @TheDarkStormy1 Share

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There’s a revolution in compact car design going on at BMW at the moment. Whether by bad luck or bad judgement, though, that revolution won’t impact upon the firm’s biggest-selling compact car for another two years, and that is a source of annoyance unlikely to be lost on many in Munich.

Having already brought us the 2 Series Active Tourer and Grand Tourer premium MPVs, the new BMW X1 and the latest Mini hatchbacks, Mini Countryman and Mini Clubman, BMW’s front-wheel drive UKL1 platform will be pressed it into service under an all-new BMW 1 Series at some point in 2019, but not before making its appearance in the X2 SUV first.

BMW has gone to a lot of trouble updating the car’s engines, suspension, styling, cabin and equipment level in order to give the 1 Series a decent send-offMatt SaundersRoad test editor

At which time, BMW may finally concede that engineering the original 1 Series as a rear-drive compact premium hatch cost a lot and delivered relatively little for a clientele who – according to the firm’s own research – didn’t even know which wheels propelled the car.

For those who did, and for anyone else minded to bag an example of the rear-drive hatch before it’s too late, enter the final facelifted version of the 1 Series. To its credit, and in spite of its plan for an overhaul, BMW has gone to a lot of trouble updating the car’s engines, suspension, styling, cabin and equipment level in order to give the 1 Series a decent send-off.

And it needed to. Since the F20 1 Series originally went before the road test desk’s gaze in 2011, it has been supplanted on our ‘compact premium’ class podium by the sophisticated and constantly improving Audi A3 and the better-looking Mercedes-Benz A-Class. But improved fuel economy and CO2 emissions seem like the right place for BMW to begin the fightback, in the shape of three and four cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

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Starting at the bottom is the triple-pot 116d and 118i, while the vast majority of the range is supplied with a four-cylinder motor powering the 118d, 120d, 125d, 120i and 125i. Topping the range is the majestic M Performance M140i with a 3.0-litre straight six in its nose. 

Related BMW 1 Series 2015-2019 reviews

BMW 1 Series saloon 2017 first drive2016 BMW M140i first drive 2015 BMW 1 Series 125d M Sport first drive2015 BMW M135i first drive

But it’s to the 116d EfficientDynamics Plus in particular that our attention turns, as this low-emissions special promises better performance and economy than its predecessor -making it one of the most frugal combustion-engined cars that money can buy. But does it now – finally – command the attention of business car users in the manner of its bigger siblings?


Verdict Model tested: Rating: 7

BMW 1 Series 2015-2019

GoodEager, economical diesel engineEnhanced standard equipment levelImproved stylingBadCompromised practicalityMixed cabin qualityUnderwhelming rear-drive handling

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