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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Style meets substance

Arun Changrani, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 16, 2013
First Published: 17:36 IST(16/11/2013) | Last Updated: 20:07 IST(16/11/2013)

BMW’s 1 series, which is its latest entrant into the premium small car segment, aims to lure car enthusiasts with its stylish looks, power-packed features and top notch performance. We give you a lowdown about this new mean machine.

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Exterior
Its dynamic front end sports the signature BMW lines with a kidney-shaped grille, a long bonnet and twin-barrel headlamps with strong shoulder lines. The rear is proportionate to the overall design, highlighting its elegant LED tail lamp clusters.

Interior
Smart is the word that defines the car’s centre console, which is aligned towards the driver. The instrument cluster is neat, with large and clear dials. Touches of metal finish provided to the pedals, along with chunky door handles, further brings out the sportiness from within, as this is the top of the line 118d sports variant. Front and rear seats are really comfortable, with decent amount of head, shoulder and leg room.

Performance
The BMW 1 series offers one petrol (116i) and one diesel (118d) engine. The petrol variant features a 4 cylinder turbocharged 1.6 ltr engine, and the one we drove was the 2.0 ltr diesel engine that produces 141bhp with 320 Nm of torque. It caters to an eight speed ZF gearbox that powers the rear wheels, giving the vehicle the flavour of a powerful yet enjoyable hot hatch. There are four driving modes to choose from, out of which, Eco pro which is for economical driving, while City cruising provides for a comfortable ride. Having said that, the Sport and Sport Plus are two modes where the 118d really comes alive and is a pleasure to drive.

Verdict
The BMW 1 Series is the first of its kind offering from the German manufacturer that attempts to sell well in the premium car segment. It offers a strong line up of engines that provide good driving dynamics, thereby satisfying the thrill of a hardcore car enthusiast. This hatchback is well packaged and well suited for daily use. However, the cabin isn’t really special, but still provides a reasonable amount of comfort. Given that all BMWs are driver centric, its pricing is something that can keep away many positional customers, in comparison to the rest of the competition.

On the comparative scale
Mercedes A Class is the nearest and the only rival to the BMW 1 series. It provides a more premium and flush look, especially if you talk about its exterior design. When compared visually, the front end of the A Class immediately stands out to the naked eye in comparison to the 1 series. While the finishing of both set of wheels is almost equal, the cabin of the A Class is far more superior to that of the 1 Series. Rear leg room is something that is non-existent in the Beemer, while Merc still provides reasonable space. From the driving point of view, the 1 series comes out on top, as it provides better handling and performance in comparison to the A Class. To sum it up, if one is looking for a ride with basic interior layout and space, then the 1 series is the best choice. But, if blingy and sporty interiors with decent performance is your cup of tea, then you should go for the A Class.

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