Inside the all-new BMW 1 Series.

Published: March 2020
Video/Photos: Supplied

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the all-new BMW 1 Series. Aside from the bold new design and intelligent onboard technology, this third-generation, five-door premium compact model has two headline changes: a much roomier interior, and BMW’s exciting new front-wheel-drive architecture.



The changes to the F40 are evident long before you get behind the wheel.

The F40 features two headline changes: a much roomier interior, and BMW’s exciting new front-wheel-drive architecture.
The most significant physical change to the new BMW 1 Series is the interior space – backseat passengers get an extra 33mm of knee room, and the boot capacity is 380 litres, up from 20 litres on the previous model.

Front-wheel drive

That cutting-edge front-wheel-drive technology (a feature of the BMW 118i) brings BMW i Series innovation to BMW’s core models for the first time. You’ll feel the difference right away in the sharp, dynamic driving experience. The BMW 118i also features a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the state-of-the-art 7-speed dual-clutch Steptronic transmission can also be specified as an option.


South African drivers will initially have a choice between the BMW 118i and the BMW M135i xDrive – the latter being the F40’s sporting flagship. The BMW M135i xDrive features fast, responsive BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive, and an 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission that provides a smooth, quiet and adaptable driving experience.


As the BMW M135i xDrive is the sports model, it’s worth mentioning some of its stats: the car goes from standstill to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds, and hits a governed top speed of 250km/h. Despite those impressive performance numbers, its combined fuel consumption is just 7.1–6.8 litres per 100km, and its CO2 emissions are just 162–155g per kilometre.


New-look BMW 1 Series

The changes to the third-generation BMW 1 Series (known to BMW fans as the F40) are evident long before you get behind the wheel, though. The famous BMW kidney grille is bigger and bolder, and appears alongside other tweaks like angled headlights, a pronounced shark nose, a clear wedge shape, an electric panoramic roof and beautifully backlit trim strips.


But the most significant physical change in the new BMW 1 Series is the interior space. The car is 5mm shorter than its predecessor, but 34mm wider and 13mm higher. This translates to a much roomier interior, especially in the rear compartment, where back-seat passengers get an extra 33mm of knee room. The driver and front passenger get 42mm more elbow room than in the previous-generation BMW 1 Series, while the boot capacity of 380 litres is also 20 litres up on the previous model.

Upgrades are a recurring theme in the F40, which has also inherited a number of innovative driver-assistance systems from models higher up the BMW range, including the BMW Digital Key and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. Available as an option, the BMW Digital Key lets you (and up to five other users) lock, unlock and start the vehicle via an Android 8.0 smartphone.


BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, meanwhile, lets you operate the car and access its functions and information simply by saying “Hey, BMW!”, and speaking. It’ll even learn your habits and routines, creating a truly personalised – and entirely unique – driving experience.


Book a test drive now and experience the new BMW 1 Series for yourself.