With BMW having pioneered the production of the luxury hatch quite a few years ago, and since then having sold well over a million units to date, it was high time for a re-launch... Enter BMW's second-generation 1-Series Sports Hatch, a more sexier, sportier and intelligent version of the 5-door hatch we have all come to know and love. The cars are more spacious than before and come with a choice of one diesel (135 kW) and two petrol (100 kW and 125 kW) engines.
The Sports Hatch exterior gets its unmistakeable character from its air vents which come in high-gloss, its silver diffuser with black highlights and its typical front ornamental grille with black double kidney grille slats. BMW designers have tailored the new 1 Series Sports Hatch with accentuated lines in all the right places. Its rear end has grown slightly (a 17mm wider track and a 30mm longer wheelbase) and the car is now sportier than ever with a choice of 16” light alloy wheels or 17” light alloy wheels in a star-spoke style. And who could miss that all-important “Sport” logo which takes its stand-alone place on the side of the vehicle announcing its athletic capability for the world to see. Incidentally, BMW has also catered for the middle-of-the-road kind of guy by introducing a slightly less sporty style in this range, a more of an 'Urban' look hatch with accessories including wheels, wing mirrors and trim strips on the bumper in white rather than the sports model's high gloss black and chrome.
The new and improved luxurious interior features BMW's new Move Anthracite and a Satin Silver interior trim as standard. Added to this the Sports Hatch was designed with individually in mind. It offers countless combinations for personal configuration with a wide selection of colours and interior equipment specifications available. One can opt for a sports leather steering with red contrast and the red chrono-scale of the speedometer, sport seats for driver and front passengers, door sill finishers with the “Sport” logo, chrome frames on the air conditioning and radio systems, orange/red or white variable interior lighting, a central armrest and so the list goes on. The new BMW 1 Series also integrates a range of communications technologies with the optional BMW ConnectedDrive and iDrive infotainment packages available. This intelligent system keeps drivers connected with the road and the world around them by means of in-car Internet, email access, a large hard drive for storing hours of music, and the car will also integrate seamlessly with a smartphone.
Four-cylinder, 1.6 litre TwinPower turbocharged engines are used in the BMW 1 Series 116i and 118i, producing 100 kW and 125 kW respectively. The 120d receives the 135 kW @ 380 Nm. With these new cars BMW has embarked on 'EfficientDynamics' – simply explained as a fuel-saving measure which is encapsulated by the new ‘Eco Pro’ driving mode and activated by a button next to the gear lever. Eco Pro comes standard on every BMW 1 Series and helps the car deliver impressive performance by adjusting the gearbox, accelerator and even the climate control to ensure you get the most out of every drop of fuel purchased. BMW claim the 116i is capable of averaging 5.5 L/100km or 129 g/km of CO2. In combination with the smooth 8-speed Steptronic gearbox, the cars will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 222 km/h. Both engines are equipped with stop/start technology as standard.
The new BMW 1 Series Sports Hatch has a comprehensive range of safety equipment including front, side and head airbags. On the current Euro NCAP crash test, the new BMW 1 Series achieved the top score of 5 stars. In addition, the car's pedestrian protection and its numerous standard safety fittings also attracted a positive rating.
While the 116i retails for a very respectful R268,000 in manual (R286,500 for the automatic Sports Hatch), sadly almost everything on the car after that is 'optional'. In order to attain a certain specification level one would need to choose about six or so optional extras which could add to pricing significantly. Buy a car like this and you're looking at around R323 000 to R370 416 depending on your taste and choice of model. (Prices are subject to change according to various factors so please consult your dealer for the latest price)