BMW has effected a long cycle impulse (facelift in simple terms) to the 1-Series hatchback. The car, due for a generation change in 2017, continues to be rear wheel driven as the front wheel driven UKL platform is still a couple of summers away. Until then, the facelifted 1-Series will spar against the likes of the Audi A3 and Mercedes Benz A-Class hatchbacks.
The LCI model brings cosmetic changes at both the front and the rear. The front gains completely revised headlamps that can now be specified with the LED treatment. The twin kidney grilles get larger while the rear sees brand new tail lamps, again with the LED treatment in tow. The bumpers also get a thorough reprofiling, in keeping with the theme of the facelift.
On the inside, equipment gains are the big story even as the overall look and feel of the cabin is largely unchanged. The 6.5 inch iDrive infotainment interface is standard while the navigation feature being specified results in the screen getting expanded to 8.8 inches. The iDrive controller gets touch sensitive technology.
The parking assist feature helps both parallel and transverse (parking between two obstacles such as pillars) parking. The car continues to use run flat tyres, a technology that BMW has persisted with despite criticism from car owners in India. Tyre pressure sensing is a part of standard equipment on the car, and rightfully so.
BMW will serve up 10 engines, 5 in petrol and the rest in diesel, all of them turbocharged. Of particular interest to us in India, are the engines that are offered in the 116i and 118d variants of the LCI 1-Series. The 116i variant sees the 1.6 liter-4 cylinder turbocharged petrol motor getting replaced by the 1.5 liter-3 cylinder turbopetrol engine.
The smaller motor makes 109 Bhp of peak power and 180 Nm of peak torque, while the 1.6 liter-4 cylinder turbo petrol engine is now available in the 120i variant, with outputs remaining constant at 136 Bhp-200 Nm. The 1.6 liter engine is expected to be retained on the India-spec 1-Series LCI, and hence the 116i variant could be replaced by the 120i variant here.
The 2 liter turbo diesel engine of the 120d variant makes 190 Bhp and 400 Nm, with the current 120d’s 2 liter engine being relegated to the 118d variant. Even so, the power output goes up to 150 Bhp (up from the current 143 Bhp) while torque remains constant at 320 Nm. Hence, expect BMW India to replace the 120d with the 118d variant.
The 8 speed ZF sourced automatic gearbox is now connected to the navigation system that minimizes fuel consumption on corners and slopes by shifting to a more efficient gear before hand. This is essentially the terrain sensing automatic transmission technology for you, in a more condensed form though. Rear wheel drive layout remains standard fare.
BMW is expected to bring in the facelifted 1-Series later this year, considering that the current model will be about 3 years old by the end of this year. With the B-Class facelift on the anvil, the 1-Series could do with a quick upgrade. The car is assembled at BMW India’s Chennai facility through the CKD route and the facelifted model is expected to follow the same tack.