For better or for worse – we'll let you be the judge of that, BMW has given the 1-Series hatchback a cosmetic facelift accompanied by the addition of its new three-cylinder power units.
The 1-Series hatch in both three- and five-door forms has been criticized for its looks and in particular, the front end with its googly eyes. To that extent, and even though many feel that BMW would have been better off just applying the 2-Series Coupe's fascia (like this guy did in real life), the Bavarians followed a different path.
They redesigned the headlamps giving them a more rectangular shape and a lower profile while at the same time, stretching the double kidney grilles and re-profiling the bumper. Additionally, the headlamps now come with standard LED daytime driving lights, while full-LED headlights are available as an option for the first time.
At the back, the boxy tail lamp units were replaced with new two-section rear lights in the familiar BMW “L” shape with LED units that are standard across the range.
Moving on to the interior and besides the new seat covers, the updated 1-Series gets new controls for the radio and the climate control, chrome and high-gloss black surface trims on the center console, and a new M Sport steering wheel.
Standard equipment across the range now includes automatic air conditioning, a rain sensor, and a BMW Radio Professional and iDrive operating system with a newer high-resolution 6.5-inch built-in monitor (optionally, BMW offers a new 8.8-inch screen with Navigation).
There's a raft of newly available assistance systems and services from BMW ConnectedDrive, including the radar-based Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function, and the latest-generation Parking Assistant that now allows "parallel parking in tight spaces restricted either by two obstacles or on one side only, as well as automatic transverse parking".
Plenty of changes were made under the hood, as for the first time, the 1-Series is offered with BMW's new 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo'd petrol and diesel engines. These include an 116PS (114hp) diesel in the 116d and 116d EfficientDynamics, and the 109PS (108hp) petrol in the 116i.
BMW updated its range of 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel and gasoline four-pots, which now include three diesels in the 118d (150PS or 148hp), 120d (190PS or 187hp) and 125d (224PS or 221hp), and three petrol units in the 118i (136PS or 134hp), 120i (177PS or 175hp) and 125i (218PS or 215hp).
The range-topping M135i's 3.0-liter turbocharged six gains an extra 7hp and now delivers 326PS or 322hp, allowing the RWD version to hit 100km/h in 5.1 sec for the manual and 4.9 sec for the 8-speed automatic model, while the all-wheel xDrive edition that is offered exclusively with the auto box, does the same in 4.7 seconds.
BMW said that the eight-speed Steptronic transmission offered across the range comes with revised hardware and software to improve efficiency, and now offers transmission management supported by navigation data.
The updated 1-Series hatch will go on sale later this year following its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show in March.