The new 1-Series has all-independent suspension with MacPherson struts in front and multilink at the rear.
Ride and Handling
Like its predecessor, the new 1-Series has all-independent suspension with MacPherson struts in front and multilink at the rear. A test route on rural roads around Berlin showcased the way this car rides and handles, and the verdict is mostly favourable. As is the norm for BMWs, the 1-Series has an even front-rear weight balance, and it deals with the bends with composure and a tidy agility. The standard suspension set-up is a touch softer than ideally suits the car, so the optional adaptive suspension with dial-in Comfort and Sport settings is worth having.
Ease of Use
There is a smidgeon more rear passenger space than before, to address feedback from existing 1-Series owners, but back seat knee-room is still relatively restricted in the new car. Access is not too bad, though, past reasonably sized rear doors. The boot is quite shallow, and its 360 litres capacity is modest, but that stretches to a very useful 1,200 litres when the rear seats are folded.
The driving experience is high calibre, but maybe not quite as engagingly pin-sharp as it should be with that badge on the nose. Although a step up from the previous model, it is not quite as perky and alert as we would like. Electric power steering makes the car lighter for parking than the old model, and steering feel is improved, but it does not provide quite as precise a feedback as it ideally should.
Comfort and Refinement
Cabin comfort and quality has improved noticeably over the first generation car, and the decor has been given an injection of character. Encouraged by the success of the personalisation programme devised for the BMW-owned MINI, a similar theme has also been adopted for the 1-Series. The test car's Urban trim is intended to appeal to a generation of iPhone and iPad users, with its trendy-looking contrasting seat panels and high-gloss inserts on the dashboard and door panels. Noise levels are mostly low, and what you hear from the engine is an agreeably growly sound, but wind noise occasionally intrudes.
BMW 1 Series Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||BMW 120d Urban|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||7.3 Seconds|
|Transmission||8 Speed Automatic with paddles|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 Years / Unlimited Mileage|
|Price (when tested on the 22/08/11)||24,720|