BMW Ireland recently invited Motorcheck to an exciting preview of their new 1 Series Sports Hatch at the Yacht Club in Howth. Since its introduction in 2004 the BMW 1 Series is represented on Irish roads today by over 3,200 motorists. Rival Audi is proving to be a strong competitor with over 9,000 of its A3s currently in daily use and BMW are focussed on closing the gap.
In advance of their conquest, BMW have announced this version as a completely new car. Certainly access to the rear seats has been improved and despite having a more sporty look the BMW design team managed to cram an additional 30 litres of extra space into the boot. Occupants will notice the extra space in the cabin width, rear legroom and luggage area but for me it's the modified styling that really impresses.
There's no mistaking this car in your rear view mirror as anything but a BMW. The three dimensional lines around the nose of the car serve to push the kidney grille forward and together with the broad air intake behind the number plate gives the car a rather imposing presence on the road.
From the rear the protruding wheel arches continue the cars' sporty yet compact feel and the low position of the number plate helps to 'ground' the car. The profile shows off the newly lengthened wheel base which uses its short front and rear overhangs to deliver the trademark BMW driving dynamics.
Sitting inside you can't fail to appreciate the quality of the BMW interior. For some reason the car feels like a teenager thats come of age and ready to take on its older siblings. The influence of modern technology design is obvious with a certain 'iPhone' feel to the design of the display.
After its official launch in October Irish buyers will be able to order a new 1 Series with a Sport or Urban package. Both have been specifically tuned for Irish and UK roads and have significantly enhanced standard specification over the outgoing car.
The model we were introduced to was BMW's 'Sport' option which comes with a high-gloss black trim with a red accent stripe. The red accents in the the instrument panel add to the overall impression making it a car that I'm looking forward to test driving.
The 116D Manual Sport that we saw comes in at around €31,000 (on the road) and qualifies for €104 per annum road tax. There are cheaper petrol models available but BMW expect this to be the one that Irish buyers will be attracted to.
You can get the BMW 1 Series Pricelist here.