Fourth-generation BMW 1 Series shows its new face with all-petrol line-up for the UK

Look closely and you'll see the previous 1 Series behind the facelift

BMW caused consternation among fans of the marque when the current BMW 1 Series arrived with front-wheel drive, but it hasn’t hurt sales and so a fourth-generation version is on the way with the same configuration. Though BMW is branding the new 1 Series as just that, in reality it’s a heavy update of the current car, with a new exterior look, a completely overhauled interior and changes under the skin, too.

The updates on the outside mean the new BMW 1 Series measures 4,361mm in length — an increase of just over 4cm compared with the current car — and it’s slight wider, at 1,800mm, but the wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear axles) remains unchanged at 2,670mm.

2024 BMW 1 Series

Yet another new take on the BMW kidney grille

One significant update is the addition of a new grille that addresses some of the criticism BMW received regarding the awkward appearance of some of its recent cars.

While the old 1er’s grille merged into the upper section of bodywork ahead of the bonnet, the new version is smaller and stays contained within the front section of the nose.

2024 BMW 1 Series

The internal style of the grille varies between models, though no version of the 1 Series will feature chrome trim from now on (chrome is being eliminated from most carmakers’ models as its production, using toxic chemicals, is harmful to health and the environment).

There are reprofiled LED headlight units, too, which come with matrix-beam technology and blue inserts on higher spec variants, while vertical air intakes flank the large grille opening in the lower bumper, all designed to give the 1 Series a sporty look.

From the side, it’s obvious that the current car’s doors and windows are carried over but new alloy wheel designs will be introduced, and there’s a contrasting black roof finish on offer. This is a first for BMW — if you wanted a contrasting roof in the past, it would only have come with the firm’s top-spec carbon fibre-roofed M-badged machines.

2024 BMW 1 Series

The rear end sees a new diffuser added that hides the exhaust tips on all models except the M135 hot hatch. The LED taillights have been redesigned, but they still stretch across the back to help give the 1 Series a visually wider stance.

All-new interior

While it’s possible to see the old 1 Series bodywork in places outside, BMW has gone back to the drawing board for the cabin. There are new materials and a revised dashboard layout, featuring twin screens that create a single curved display, as found across most of the BMW range now. The displays comprise a 10.25in screen for the digital instruments and a touchscreen measuring 10.7in across.

The 1 Series now comes with BMW’s Operating System 9, so it features extra touchscreen controls and fewer physical buttons in the cabin, and the layout has been tweaked to reflect this.

A letterbox opening and simple air vent controls are found beneath the display, while a toggle switch on the centre console is used to select drive. Next to that is a button for the My Modes settings that alter the interior and vehicle parameters.

2024 BMW 1 Series

There are new seats, as well, and the cabin features plenty of synthetic and recycled materials, including “Econeer” fabric, while leather is replaced by “Veganza”, a leather substitute that’s designed to feel the same as cow hide. M Sport cars — and the M135 — feature a mix of Vegaza and Alcantara as standard.

No diesel options for the UK

As seen with the launch of the new BMW 5 Series and recently-revamped 3 Series, there will be no diesel-engined versions of the new 1 Series offered to buyers in the UK. The line-up at launch comprises solely 120 and M135 models powered by petrol engines. These no longer carry an ‘i’ suffix, with BMW using the letter — albeit as a prefix — to signify its electric models.

2024 BMW 1 Series

The 120 uses 48-volt hybrid tech, assisting a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine making up to 167bhp in total. Official fuel economy is 53.3mpg, while a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds is quoted. The front wheels of this car are driven through a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox as standard.

All-wheel-drive M135 tops the line-up

Sport, M Sport and M Sport Pro trim lines will be offered, while at the top of the range, the M135 returns with xDrive four-wheel drive. It still uses a turbocharged 2-litre engine, with peak power quoted as 296bhp, which is good for a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds.

2024 BMW 1 Series

The M model features an enhanced look, with quad exhaust pipes at the back of the car, plus an enhanced appearance for the grille and door mirror housings, lowered suspension and unique 18in alloy wheels.

BMW will also offer an M Technology package as an option. This features a track-focused suspension system, beefier brakes and 19in forged alloy wheels.

The new 1 Series is available to order now with first UK deliveries in October this year. The 120 is priced from £29,950 while the M135 starts at £41,000.

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