German carmaker BMW has started promoting its upcoming 1-series here. The current-generation model (Codename F20) has been on sale in international markets since September 2011. The 1-series is the smallest and most affordable BMW currently, and will be positioned to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A-class, which is why the company sees great potential for the five-door hatchback in the Indian market.
BMW hopes that the 1-series will carve out a niche for itself here as a powerful, rear-wheel-drive premium hatchback. The car would be locally produced at the BMW plant in Chennai, so expect prices to be in the range of around Rs. 20-25 lakh.
The 1-series boasts a striking design. The shark-nose treatment with the forward-leaning kidney grille, the clamshell bonnet and the large, recessed headlights, give it that premium look people look for in this segment. You can’t mistake it for anything but a BMW. The surface treatment along the sides isn’t as conflicting as the previous 1-series and, as a result, is easier on the eye. The tail-lamps have also been pushed to the extremities of the rear to allow for a larger tailgate aperture.
Based on the same platform architecture as the 3-series, it shares some major components with the saloon, including its front MacPherson struts and multi-link rear suspension. It’s not as small as it looks in the photographs, though. At 4.2 metres long, the 1-series is almost as long as the Mercedes A-class whose dimensions are more mid-size saloon than small hatch, which points to a roomy, comfortable cabin. Expect cabin quality to be on the lines of the X3 and the 3-series.
Helping distinguish the 1-series from other hatchbacks is BMW’s rear-wheel-drive layout. Internationally, BMW sells the 1-series with the 1.6-litre petrol and the 2.0-litre diesel engine options. However, the Indian variants might share engines with the X1 in the interest of costs. This means a 2.0-litre, 181bhp diesel and a 150bhp, 2.0-litre petrol, with the distant possibility of a hot, 168bhp, direct-injection petrol option.
Expect BMW to launch the new 1-series in the coming months.