BMW is treating its 1 Series small hatchback to yet another refresh – the third since the introduction of the second-generation model in 2011 - with a light dusting of technology and aesthetic updates arriving in September this year.
While European customers will be offered a whopping 26 different variants spanning all-wheel xDrive, three and five-door models and some special editions, the Australian range will be kept considerably leaner with the current five-door-only line-up continuing on with five, rear-drive variants.
The so-called Life Cycle Impulse (LCI) brings a number of mild aesthetic tweaks to the interior and exterior, as well as a tinkering of the iDrive information system, which aligns with an LCI update for the mechanically related 2 Series Coupe and Convertible.
All versions of the 2018 1 Series will get a reshaped nose with mildly tweaked headlights that house bi-LEDs, a redesigned grille and new-look air intakes, while the rear end also wears a new design tail-light – also full-LED.
Two new colours – Sunset Orange and Seaside Blue join the exterior colour palette and five new alloy wheel designs measuring 17 or 18 inches take the total range to 16 choices.
On the inside, the most notable LCI changes are to the instrument cluster, which is reconfigured for “an even greater emphasis on driver focus” and a new 8.8-inch central touchscreen, which allows a more intuitive operation of the iDrive information and entertainment systems.
The latest version of BMW’s operating system allows enhanced connectivity features, including BMW Connected, which allows the pairing of a an Apple or Android smartphone or wearable device, while Remote Services allow owners to control some vehicle functions including heating, cooling and locking when away from the car – as well as relay information such as the fuel level.
Cabins are also given a light refresh with high-contrast stitching, gloss black and chrome-look trims, while revised air vents complete the interior makeover.
Customers can also pick and choose from an extended list of options including Cognac Dakota leather upholstery and ‘Pearl Chrome’ accents depending on the specification levels, while choices of Piano Black veneer, aluminium and Alcantara are there to customise interiors to personal tastes.
All other 1 Series features will carry over unchanged, including powertrains, which kick off with the 118i three-cylinder petrol for the current price of $37,990 before on-road costs, bringing a 1.5-litre engine with 100kW and 220Nm.
Above that, the 118d adds an extra cylinder and diesel power taking capacity up to 2.0 litres and output to 110kW/320Nm. The 120i introduces 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol power and 135kW/270Nm, while the power-boosted 125i version takes those figures up to 165kW/310Nm from the same engine configuration.
At the top of the performance pack, the M140i weighs in with six-cylinders of turbocharged grunt and 250kW/500Nm.
Australian pricing and exact specification is yet to be finalised, but the German car maker’s local arm will reveal more details closer to the updated 1 Series’ launch later this year.