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BMW 1 Series gets a mid-life makeover to keep it fresh

CarsBy Robbie Farrell
The BMW 1 Series looks much sharper after its mid-life makeover
The BMW 1 Series looks much sharper after its mid-life makeover

BMW 1-Series LCI (Life-Cycle Impulse) — UK Launch

Much like a Hollywood A-lister, most cars undergo a mid-life makeover after about three years to keep the appearance looking fresh and up to date.

It’s more of a Botox injection than major plastic surgery during its six- or seven-year lifespan.

The BMW 1-Series, which has sold more than two million models since it was first introduced 10 years ago, is one such car that has just been given a little boost to keep it up with the Joneses.

Although the changes are subtle to the untrained eye, the tweaks give the baby Beemer a stylish new look that will keep it fresh until the new model appears on the forecourts in a couple of years’ time.

The most noticeable enhancements to the exterior come in the shape of the front and rear lights.

The front headlights have been reshaped and now come with LED daytime driving lights as standard on all models.

These, along with a new lower apron with larger air intakes, make a world of a difference to the front-end look.

At the rear, the plain-looking tail-lamps have been replaced by the more familiar-looking L-shaped design that is found on many of its siblings.

I have to admit, they really do make a difference when you see both models side by side.

On the inside, the 1-Series has been given some fine enhancements and you now get a lot more equipment as standard.

It now features the same iDrive operating system that is found in its more expensive and larger siblings, and they have added more storage space around the cabin. 

The most noticeable changes, however, come in the form of a new power unit family. BMW has introduced a new range of three- and four-cylinder engines and an expansion of the standard-fit BMW EfficientDynamics technology.

The new four-cylinder diesel engine features in the 118d, 120d and 125d. The 118d comes with 150bhp and 320Nm of torque while the core seller here in Ireland — the 120d — has 190bhp and 400Nm of torque. 

There is also a new 1.5-litre,w three-cylinder engine in the new BMW 116d which generates 116bhp and 270Nm of torque. 

I didn’t get to try out this version on the UK launch, but I did get behind the wheel of the 120d and it is more than capable of sprinting you around town.

The highlight for me, though, was getting behind the wheel of the amazing M 135i.

The smaller, more powerful cars in the BMW range are so much more fun to drive than the likes of the M3 or M4.

The handling and power on tap is almost unmatched by any other manufacturer, possibly apart from the S models in the Audi line-up.

The new BMW 1-series arrived on our shores at the end of March.

Prices for the three-door model start at €30,050, while the five-door model will have just a €790 premium at €30,840.

And, whatever way you look at it, the 1-Series is an affordable way to get your foot on the BMW ladder.