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BMW's baby has been reborn, but is it better now?

10 Jan 2012

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When we drove the new 1 Series up to Kuala Lumpur recently, we were much impressed with the car's capabilities along the winding back roads of Malaysia. The baby Bimmer coped well not only in the corners, as is expected of a BMW, but also on the often rough and unwieldy road surfaces that is truly Malaysia, highlighting the exemplary ride quality of the new 1 Series.

But that is Malaysia, which is a whole different animal from our tiny little island. A good hatchback should preferably be compact and nimble enough to tackle tight city streets and fight the urban battle, whilst still being well-rounded enough to be liveable on a daily basis.

The original 1 Series was a bit of a flawed product. While it drove well, its overall package just fell short of the high standards that the Bavarian carmaker has set for itself and its cars. Despite that, it still became a strong seller worldwide, proving once again the power of branding.

Now it's time for Baby Bimmer, take two. Can the new 1 Series address the flaws of its predecessor, and bring the Bavarian hatchback to another level in the face of ever competitive rivals?

Exterior

The 1 Series hatchback's looks has been called all sorts of names by people over the years, ranging from 'unique', to 'different', to 'challenging'. And those are just the ones that are decent and printable.

The new one continues that form, and like it or hate it, it is most certainly a design that polarises opinions. Whatever one thinks, there is no doubt that the 1 Series' styling is a talking point for sure.

Up front, the odd triangular headlamps and the pointy nose make the car seem a bit cross-eyed and awkward. Someone even made a reference to the titular character in the popular game Angry Birds.

If the front is provocative, then the rear end of the new 1 Series is sadly uninspiring. More than one critic compared the 1 Series' rump to the Volkswagen Polo, which, for BMW, might not be all that flattering. The similarity is quite uncanny though.

The 1 Series is available in two trim levels, and our 118i test car was decked out in Sport spec. The difference between this and the other Urban trim cosmetically lies mainly in the grille, with Sport having eight black vertical bars in each 'kidney' and Urban having 10 chrome white ones, as well as minor stuff such as black or chrome in places such as the front bumper trimmings and door mirrors. They're all customisable though, and you can choose which element you want to add or delete from your One.

Interior

One of the major criticisms of the previous 1 Series was its interior packaging, specifically with regards to rear passenger space and its boot. It may have five doors, but it might as well have been a coupe.
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Car Information

This model is no longer being sold by local distributors

Price

: -

Engine Type

:

4-cylinders in-line DOHC Twin-Scroll Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1598cc

Horsepower

:

127kW (170 bhp) / 4800 rpm

Torque

:

250 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Steptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.5sec

Top Speed

:

225km/h

Fuel consumption

:

17.8 km/L

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