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BMW 1-Series offer the best driving experience in its segment

October 04, 2013 08:50 IST

BMW 1-Series offer the best driving experience in its segment

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The BMW 1-Series is a car which offers terrific driving dynamics, which instantly puts a wide grin on your face, writes Faisal Ali Khan of MotorBeam.com

Premium hatchbacks are gathering steam in India, which is why luxury car makers are storming the market with such vehicles.

First it was Mercedes-Benz who launched the A-Class and within days Volvo launched the V40 Cross Country in India.

Both these cars saw good response, luring current luxury car owners. Now BMW has entered the premium hatchback space with the launch of the 1-Series.

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BMW 1-Series offer the best driving experience in its segment

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The 1-Series won't get high marks in the design department. The car looks very similar to other BMW vehicles and thus doesn't have a unique identity of its own.

The long bonnet and simple rear make it look odd from certain angles. The rear is just too plain and the tail lights are very similar to the Volkswagen Polo.

The 1-Series does get nice wheels but it's not a car, which will make your jaws drop at first sight.

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BMW 1-Series offer the best driving experience in its segment

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Step inside and you will be pleased by the interiors, which look like they are from a higher segment. This is because BMW has taken lots of interior parts from the 3-Series.

Interior quality is good and the cabin feels sporty with the piano black inserts on the dashboard and doors.

However the base variants misses a lot of crucial equipment and the cabin doesn't feel as special as you would expect from a car of this price.

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Space inside is quite good for front passengers but the rear seats offer only adequate room. Headroom isn't an issue though and the glass area is generous, offering good visibility.

The huge transmission tunnel makes the 1-Series a strict 4-seater. The top end Sport Plus variant comes loaded but the base trim misses iDrive, electric seat adjustment, rear AC vents, Bluetooth, USB, etc.

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The boot is quite usable and relatively big too (by hatchback standards). The 360-litre trunk can easily swallow a large suitcase and the rear seats split to boost practicality.

There is no spare tyre as just like other BMW cars, the 1-Series too uses run-flat tyres.

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The BMW 1-Series is offered with a petrol and diesel engine each. The petrol engine is the 116i which produces 136 PS of power and 220 Nm of torque.

The diesel engine is going to be more popular and is offered in three variants. The 2.0-litre diesel mill produces 143 HP of power and 320 Nm of torque. Performance is instant and the 118d responds to throttle inputs immediately.

BMW has got the refinement spot on and the diesel engine can be barely heard inside the cabin. However when you are near the redline, it does get audible but in a sporty way.

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The diesel 1-Series redlines at 4700 RPM and there are 4 driving modes on offer - ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. The car is more eager in Sport mode and gearshifts are lightning quick.

The 8-speed automatic gearbox is a gem and always finds the right gear for you. You can manually shift using the tiptronic function and there are no paddle shifts on offer, disappointing.

The 1-Series is quite frugal and will return 12-13 kmpl in the city and up to 17 kmpl on the highway. The start/stop and regenerative brakes help in making the car frugal.

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BMW cars are known to handle like a gem and the 1-Series is pretty much the same. The German automaker has achieved 50:50 weight distribution on the car and that really helps in keeping it balanced around the tightest of bends.

The 1-Series has terrific grip and darts into corners with laser guided precision. It simply points in the direction you want it to go.

The steering wheel offers good feedback and the 1-Series is pure joy to drive with the rear-wheel drive helping in better traction.

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In spite of using low profile run-flat tyres, the ride quality of the 1-Series isn't as bad as you would expect.

Sure the car is stiffly sprung and gets disturbed over bad roads but it isn't as unpleasant and something which you can live with on a daily basis. In fact the ride quality of the 1-Series is among the best in any BMW.

Brakes complement the driving aggression of the car and help it to stop quickly. High-speed stability is good too but a bit of bounciness is felt over bad roads.

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The BMW 1-Series is not be the most practical car in the hatchback segment but it is by far the most fun to drive.

BMW has stayed true to the positioning of the car and it indeed offers well rounded dynamics. The 1-Series is a car you will fall in love with as soon as you take to the wheel.

At Rs. 37.15 lakh (Rs 3.71 million), the top-end 1-Series costs almost as much as the 320d but if you want a fun to drive hatchback, the money spent seems well worth it.



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