This is your last chance to get a RWD 1 Series

Unveiled back in 2011, the second generation of the 1 Series is now part of a growing family of BMW compact models, having been accompanied by the 2 Series Coupe, Cabriolet model and Active Tourer variant back in 2014. Available in either three-door or five-door guises, the smallest BMW model is rivaled by the likes of the Audi A3, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Lexus CT, but unlike any of the aforementioned models it is the only car in its segment to be based on a rear-wheel drive architecture. Its engine lineup consists of a host of turbocharged four and six-cylinder engines, paired with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF, while all-wheel drive xDrive traction is available on selected models.

With the model now a little over three years old, the Bavarian carmaker has recently facelifted its five and three-door range, restyling much of its controveral exterior design and refreshing the entire engine lineup. Bringing a reduction in fuel consumption of up to 12 percent, new 1.5-liter three-cylinder diesel and gasoline engines now constitute the base models, having been borrowed from the latest MINI. The model with the lowest fuel consumption in the entire range will now be the 116d EfficientDynamics Edition, whose 116 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque are paired with a combined fuel economy of just 69.2 mpg. The biggest surprise comes on the outside though, as the new BMW 1 Series Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) shows an completely different look. Gone are the "Angry Birds" headlights, having been replaced by restyled ones that are more in line with the current BMW design theme. Small improvements to the front and rear bumpers have also been made, while the square-ish taillights are now L-shaped, just like on pretty much every other BMW model.

Update 5/9/2017: BMW will update the current 1 Series Hatch one last time before it ushers in a new-gen, FWD model to replace it. Check out our special section below to see the new spy shots and to learn more about it.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 1 Series

  • 2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series
  • Year:
    2016- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    six-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    109 @ 4500
  • Torque @ RPM:
    132 @ 1250
  • Displacement:
    1.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    10.9 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    121 mph
  • Price:
    19000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:

2018 Facelift

2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series Exterior Spyshots
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2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series
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So, here’s the deal. The BMW 1 Series is set to go through a generational shift in the next couple of years, with 2019 looking to be the big year. At that time, the 1 Series hatch will shift from a RWD architecture to a FWD architecture – sending some purists to the brink of a stroke as they try to deal with the reality that luxury automakers are slowly moving some models into the FWD category Merc just announce an all-new FWD platform as well. But, that is also why we’re here at this moment in time. The 1 Series may be switching to that FWD layout, but before that happens, BMW is updating the current hatchback model one last time; giving all of you one last chance to buy an updated 1 Series that still chews up pavement with its rear wheels.

The 1 Series may be switching to that FWD layout, but before that happens, BMW is updating the current hatchback model one last time

As is the usual case with a model refresh this close to the end of a generational life cycle, there won’t be any major updates, but a few subtle changes will make all of the difference. To start off, the inserts around the fog lights will now feature a new layout that includes just one central louver. The air dam in between also follows suit. The kidney grilles that define that unmistakable nose will be modified a bit, now including just 9 vertical louvers instead of the 11 found in the grilles of the current model. This will open up the spacing a bit and allow for better air flow, among other things. The other big deal up front is the headlights. They won’t change much, but it looks like the eyelids on top may be phased out while the corner markers will now be translucent. The same LED lights around the bulbs will carry over to this mildly revised model.

Around back, the changes are just as thin, with the taillights now getting a perforated look to them. And, even with this look, the layout of the lens inside looks to be the same. Down below there’s a new crease just above the fascia’s lower insert that will add just the slights bit of flare back here. And, that’s what you get – nothing more, nothing less. Inside, the car may get an updated iDrive console, but I doubt anything else will change. After all, the next-gen model will be breaking cover in a year and hit the market for the 2019 model year, right? Be that as it may, at least you can still get a fresher looking 1 Series in your garage before it goes FWD, so there’s at least one thing to be happy about here.


2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
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2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
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2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
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No matter how good the non-facelift 1 Series performed in relationship with its rivals, the rather controversial headlights still made it looks like a distant cousin of an "Angry Bird" character. The mid-cycle refresh seems to have completely resolved the situation up front, with the new headlights being nicely integrated in the overall design of both the model and the entire BMW range. Despite still being mildly large for such a small BMW model, they offer a more confident look without being contentious. For the first time, they now comes with standard LED "Angel Eyes" and with optional full-LED headlamps.

A slightly-redesigned "kidney" grille and larger air intakes complete the new front-end, while the side view is quasi-identical with the previous versions whether in three-door or five-door guise. On the other hand, the rear end has also been thoroughly redesigned, with the somewhat square taillights now displaying the traditional BMW L-shape and featuring LED technology.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4329 MM (170.43 Inches)
Width 1,765 MM (69.48 Inches)
Height 1,421 MM (55.94 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,690 MM (105.90 Inches)
Track, front/rear 1535 / 1569 MM (60.43/61.77 Inches)
Ground clearance 140 MM (5.51 Inches)


2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Interior
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2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Interior
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2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Interior
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There aren’t many design novelties on the inside, apart from quite a lot of previously-optional features now becoming standard. Automatic climate control, rain sensor and the Bmw Radio Professional now complete the iDrive operating system, which comes complete with a 6.5-inch free-standing display. If customers opt for the optional Professional Navigation system, the display is replaced by a larger one, measuring 8.8 inches. Other thant that, the only major difference in terms of interior design are some chrome surrounds for the air vents and the radio/climate controls, with high-gloss black panelling completing the exact same center console.


2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
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Apart from the entirely different exterior and mildly-refreshed interior, it is under the hood where the facelifted BMW 1 Series offers the biggest surprises. Taken straight out of the new latest MINI and switched from a transverse to a longitudinal positioning, a pair of three-cylinder powerplants (one diesel and the other one running on gasoline) will now be part of the 1 Series engine lineup. Both have a 1.5-liter displacement and are part of the same engine family as the thre-cylinder from the i8.

On the diesel front, by far the most interesting feature is the downright outstanding fuel economy achieved by the new three-cylinder 116d EfficientDynamics Edition, which offers a combined range of 69.2 mpg. The M135i top of the range model now benefits from 326 horsepower and the same 332 pound-feet of torque, while the optional eight-speed automatic trasnmission from ZF now offers an electronic management supported by navigation data, like in the Rolls-Royce Ghost.

Drivetrain Specifications

Petrol Versions BMW 116i BMW 118i BMW 120i BMW 125i BMW M135i
Engine Config./No. of cyls./valves in-line / 3 / 4 in-line / 4 / 4 in-line / 4 / 4 in-line / 4 / 4 in-line / 6 / 4
Effective capacity 1,499 cc 1,598 cc 1,598 cc 1,997 cc 2,979 cc
Stroke/bore 94.6 / 82.0 85.8 / 77.0 85.8 / 77.0 90.1 / 84.0 89.6 / 84.0
Compression ratio 11.0:1 10.5:1 10.5:1 10.0:1 10.2:1
Max. output 109 HP @ 4,500–6,000 RPM 136 HP @ 4,400–6,450 RPM 177 HP @ 4,800–6,450 RPM 218 HP @ 5,000 RPM 326 HP @ 5,800–6,000 RPM
Max torque 132 LB-FT @ 1,250 RPM 162 LB-FT @ 1,350–4,300 RPM 184 LB-FT @ 1,500–4,500 RPM 228 LB-FT @ 1,350–4,800 RPM 331 LB-FT @ 1,300 – 4,500 RPM
0 - 100 km/h (62 mph) 10.9 seconds 8.5 seconds 7.4 seconds 6.4 seconds 5.1 seconds
Top Speed 195 km/h (121 mph) 210 km/h (130 mph) 225 km/h (139 mph) 245 km/h (152 mph) 250 km/h (155 mph)
Diesel Engines BMW 116d BMW 118d BMW 120d BMW 125d
Engine Config./No. of cyls./valves in-line / 3 / 4 in-line / 4 / 4 in-line / 4 / 4 in-line / 4 / 4
Effective capacity 1,496 cc 1,995 cc 1,995 cc 1,995 cc
Stroke/bore 90.0 / 84.0 90.0 / 84.0 90.0 / 84.0 90.0 / 84.0
Compression ratio 16.5:1 16.5:1 16.5:1 16.5:1
Max. output 116 HP @ 4,000 RPM 150 HP @ 4,000 RPM 190 HP @ 4,000 RPM 224 HP @ 4,400 RPM
Max torque 199 LB-FT @ 1,750–2,250 RPM 236 LB-FT @ 1,500 – 3,000 RPM 295 LB-FT @ 1,750 – 2,500 RPM 331 LB-FT @ 1,500 – 3,000 RPM
0 - 100 km/h (62 mph) 10.3 seconds 8.3 seconds 7.1 seconds 6.3 seconds
Top Speed 200 km/h (124 mph) 212 km/h (131 mph) 228 km/h (141 mph) 240 km/h (149 mph)


2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
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Reaching BMW dealerships starting with March 2015, the 1 Series facelift will have similar starting prices with its predecessor, with pricing in Germany starting at the equivalent of about $25,000 (as of January 2015) for the three-door variant.


Audi A3

2017 Audi A3 Hatchback Wallpaper quality
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2017 Audi A3 Hatchback
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Some see it as the original premium compact hatch, with its first generation having been launched back in 1996, but the Audi A3 has to push in a much more crowded market nowadays. Unlike the BMW 1 Series, which is strictly rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the A3 uses a Volkwagen Golf architecture, meaning that it only comes with front-wheel drive or a Haldex-based all-wheel drive system that is traditionaly marketed as quattro.

The current generation was unveiled in 2012, meaing that it isn’t too far from being being facelifted as well, and like the 1 Series it is available in either three-door or five-door guise. Compared to the BMW model, the Audi A3’s engine lineup is even greater, with the biggest gossip magnets being the powerplants in the S3, upcoming RS3 and the recently-launched E-Tron plug-in hybrid model.

Learn more about the Audi A3 here.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

2016 Mercedes-Benz A-Class High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Mercedes-Benz A-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Unlike its two main rivals, the third generation of the A-Class is only available as a five-door model, which may transform in less sales in some parts of the world. Exclusively-powered by turbocharged four-cylinder engines that offer between 90 horsepower in the A160 CDI diesel to no less than 360 horsepower in the bonkers A45 AMG model, the smallest Mercedes-Benz model is following an entirely different formula than its two predecessors.

With standard fornt-wheel drive across almost the entire range and available all-wheel drive on selected models, the A-Class is not unlike the Audi A3 in terms of underpinnings, despite having been developed by an entirely different carmaker. It too is heading toward a mid-cycle facelift, which is set to be introduced in September 2015 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class here.


2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
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While some BMW purists may forwn at the news that the 1 Series now features three-cylinder engine borrowed from MINI, the fact that the model now has a version that uses less fuel than a purpose-built hybrid does say a lot. Also, things like navigation-controlled shifts for the models with automatic transmission were until recently only found on cars like the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Wraith. With that being said, people who probably avoided the non-facelift 1 Series for its styling can now rest assured that the new front end will no longer scare children and small animals with its peculiar headlights. Plus, you should keep in mind that this is the last ever 1 Series based on a rear-wheel drive platform, with the future generations of the car switching to a variant of the FWD-based UKL platform. In other words, it may even become a collector’s model in the future.

  • Leave it
    • Somewhat below-par interior
    • Three-cylinder engines aren’t exactly premium
    • Rear-end looks a bit too funky for some
Alex Oagana
Alex Oagana
About the author

Press Release

Almost two million units of the BMW 1 Series have been sold worldwide over the last ten years, and this latest edition is poised to set another new benchmark in driving pleasure in the premium compact segment. The new 3-door and 5-door BMW 1 Series models come with a comprehensively revised engine line-up and additional measures designed to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, allowing them to lead the way once again in the introduction of new BMW EfficientDynamics technology.

2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
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The selection of engines available for the new BMW 1 Series model range has been enhanced by the addition of latest-generation petrol and diesel units with three and four cylinders. The torquey and high-revving engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology team up with rear-wheel drive – still a unique selling point in the compact segment – to deliver a suitably intense driving experience. And an even broader spread of standard equipment, an output boost for the six-cylinder in-line engine powering the BMW M135i M Performance Automobile and cutting-edge innovations from BMW ConnectedDrive also imbue the brand’s hallmark characteristics with renewed vigour.

Modified exterior and interior design includes familiar BMW styling cues underlining sports performance and premium characteristics.
Carefully considered updates to the exterior design of the new BMW 1 Series shine the spotlight on its sporting elegance and high-end presence. A newly designed BMW kidney grille and larger air intakes help to emphasise the car’s dynamic potential in familiar BMW style. Headlights with a significantly flatter geometry play a similar role. They come with LED daytime driving lights as standard and can now be specified in full-LED specification as an option. The rear lights have also been completely remodelled. They now display the “L” shape characteristic of BMW models and reveal LED-powered lights. Elsewhere, the sophisticated design of the upper centre console with the controls for the radio and climate control system is foremost in accentuating the premium ambience on board the new BMW 1 Series.

2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Automatic air conditioning, BMW Radio Professional and BMW iDrive fitted as standard; new equipment variants.
Standard equipment for the new BMW 1 Series model range now also features automatic air conditioning, a rain sensor, the BMW Radio Professional and the iDrive operating system, complete with a high-resolution 6.5-inch display integrated in the instrument panel as a freestanding monitor. And the Advantage, Sport Line, Urban Line and M Sport packages available as an alternative to standard specification provide fresh scope for targeted individualisation.

New generation of engines, new benchmarks in efficiency.
An extensively updated line-up of engines and extended BMW EfficientDynamics technology ensure that the new BMW 1 Series model range once again sets new standards in its class by further reducing fuel consumption and emissions. BMW 1 Series customers will now be offered three- and four-cylinder power units from the BMW Group’s new engine family. The new efficiency pacesetter in the brand’s model range is the BMW 116d EfficientDynamics Edition with 85 kW/116 hp and average fuel consumption of 3.4 litres/100 kilometres (83.1 mpg imp) combined with CO2 emissions of 89 g/km in the EU test cycle.

As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, there is the option of an eight-speed Steptronic transmission (standard in the BMW 125d, BMW 120d xDrive and BMW M135i xDrive). The latest version of the automatic unit now also offers transmission management supported by navigation data.

A 5 kW increase in output (to 240 kW/326 hp) from its six-cylinder in-line engine allows the new BMW M135i (average fuel consumption: 8.0 litres/100 km [35.3 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 188 g/km) to strengthen its position as the elite sports performer in the BMW 1 Series’ competitive segment. Like the BMW 120d and BMW 118d, the BMW M Performance Automobile can also be specified with the intelligent all-wheel-drive system xDrive which, as well as serving the causes of traction and directional stability, also enhances the car’s dynamics. The new BMW M135i xDrive (average fuel consumption: 7.8 litres/100 km [36.2 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 182 g/km) sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.7 seconds.

2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
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Sophisticated chassis technology, Tyre Pressure Indicator fitted as standard.
Advanced chassis technology teams up with rear-wheel drive and an almost perfect (50 : 50) distribution of weight between the front and rear axles to give the new BMW 1 Series unmistakable handling traits headlined by agility and dynamic excellence. Options include adaptive suspension, M Sport suspension, Variable Sports Steering and an M Sport braking system. A Tyre Pressure Indicator showing each individual wheel is now part of the standard specification.

New assistance systems and services from BMW ConnectedDrive.
The selection of optional driver assistance systems from BMW ConnectedDrive available for the BMW 1 Series now also includes the radar-based Active Cruise Control system with Stop & Go function. The latest-generation Parking Assistant now enables parallel parking in tight spaces restricted either by two obstacles or on one side only, as well as automatic transverse parking. Features such as the camera-based Driving Assistant, rear-view camera and Speed Limit Info system with No Passing Info display can also be specified.

2016 - 2018 BMW 1 Series High Resolution Exterior
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All models in the new BMW 1 Series line-up come as standard with an embedded SIM card, which allows use of the likewise standard Intelligent Emergency Call and BMW TeleServices functions, as well as access to optional internet-based mobility services. In addition to BMW Online and Real Time Traffic Information, customers can also enjoy the Online entertainment function. Further online services can be integrated into the car using smartphone apps and operated safely, intuitively and conveniently via the iDrive system. Meanwhile, the new Navigation system Professional also offers automatic map updating by mobile phone via the embedded SIM card, which is free of charge to customers for the first three years following registration of the car.

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