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2012 BMW 1 Series Urban Line & Sport Line Review


The premium compact BMW 1 Series is already synonymous with driving pleasure. Now, the second generation model offers state-of-the-art engine and suspension technology, further improvements in fuel efficiency, significantly more space and an innovative range of features and equipment.


2012 BMW 1 Series Urban Line photo
Find more new 2012 BMW 1 Series pictures in our 2012 BMW 1 Series photo gallery

Still the only rear-wheel-driven car in its class, it builds on the strengths of its predecessor, which has already sold more than one million units worldwide. With its handling and design, innovative technology and premium image, the new BMW 1 Series has consolidated its strong position in the competitive five-door segment.

2012 BMW 1 Series Urban Line photo

BMW’s entry-level model has achieved maturity, offering an even better balance between sportiness and driving comfort, improved functionality, and numerous driver assistance systems previously available only in higher segments. This is also apparent in its size. The body of the new BMW 1 Series is 85 millimetres longer than its predecessor, at 4,324 millimetres, while the wheelbase has widened by 30 millimetres to 2,690 millimetres.

2012 BMW 1 Series Sport Line photo

The car also looks more powerful because its overall width has increased by 17 millimetres to 1,765 millimetres, while its height remains unchanged at 1,421 millimetres. The rear seats have 21 millimetres more legroom, and the luggage compartment has expanded by 30 litres to 360 litres.

2012 BMW 1 Series Urban Line photo -

The design of the new generation is a powerful expression of the latest technological advances. The model’s fresh, youthful image has been stylishly updated, using the latest BMW design language. The BMW 1 Series is also the first model to be offered with the BMW Sport Line and BMW Urban Line, providing exclusive opportunities for personalization.

All engines in the new BMW 1 Series are four-cylinder models using BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The petrol engines are part of a new generation, combining a sporty feel with exceptionally low fuel consumption and emissions. Output is 10 kW or 20 kW higher than with the predecessor models, yet fuel consumption has been reduced by up to 10 per cent.

2012 BMW 1 Series Sport Line photo

The diesel models too further extend the advantage that the BMW 1 Series enjoys over its competitors in the compact segment.

Like its predecessor, the new BMW 1 Series also incorporates the extremely wide-ranging BMW EfficientDynamics technology package as standard. This includes the Automatic Start/Stop function, available with both the manual and automatic transmissions (including the optional eight-speed automatic), and ECO PRO mode, activated using the driving experience switch, which is fitted as standard. There are also plans to expand the range with the BMW 116d EfficientDynamics Edition, which will achieve fuel consumption of 3.8 litres per 100 kilometres and emit just 99 grams of CO2 per kilometre over the EU combined cycle (provisional figures).

2012 BMW 1 Series Urban Line photo

Exciting, elegant, innovative design.

This innovativeness, elegance and responsiveness of the new BMW 1 Series are all reflected in its compact bodywork. Its overall proportions follow an instantly recognizable BMW template, with an elongated bonnet, long wheelbase and set-back passenger cell. The front of the car is dominated by the large BMW kidney-shaped radiator grille, boldly shaped headlight units and three-section air intake. The double-round headlights have an accent trim across their tops, while for the first time on a BMW model, the side indicator lights are built into the exterior mirrors.

The slightly sloping roof line, sporty, angled rear windscreen and flat side windows give the car a coupĂ©-like feel when seen from the side, while the Hofmeister kink – the low forward bend at the back end of the side windows – extends well into the C-pillar, making the door aperture wider and facilitating entry to and exit from the rear seats. The bold, characteristic BMW swage line gives powerful emphasis to the shoulder area. It starts at the front wing and rises continuously to the rear lights, with the door handle integrated neatly into it. The wide-set wheel arches reinforce the broad, powerful impression created by the rear of the new BMW 1 Series, and the rear light units too are set well apart. Each unit has a raised surround, and the different lights within it are structured horizontally.

2012 BMW 1 Series Sport Line photo

Premium ambience and excellent use of interior space.

Inside, a combination of typical BMW design features and innovative details creates a fresh, youthful and contemporary ambience, with a focus on

spaciousness and driving pleasure. High-quality materials further enhance the premium feel. Where an optional navigation system and the BMW Professional radio are fitted, the new BMW 1 Series also comes equipped with the BMW iDrive system. This comprises a controller on the centre console, favourites buttons and a freestanding flatscreen monitor.

The new BMW 1 Series also offers much more storage space, with large door pockets, two cupholders in the centre console, a roomy glove compartment, and a compartment under the armrest. The 360-litre luggage compartment expands to a maximum of 1,200 litres by lowering the 60/40 split-folding rear seats, giving a flat surface extending all the way to the front seats. The optional through-loading system has 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats.

2012 BMW 1 Series Sport Line photo

BMW Sport Line and BMW Urban Line make their debut.

The new BMW 1 Series is the first car to feature the new BMW Lines, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for personalization. An exclusive range of equipment options, colour schemes and materials for the interior and exterior equipment help to show off the dynamic design and technological sophistication of the new BMW 1 Series to best advantage. All the components of the BMW Lines are matched down to the last detail, and create a striking visual impact. Other individually customizable features include a choice of seat coverings, interior trims and accent strips and light-alloy wheels.

The new BMW 1 Series is also offered with numerous design and material options apart from those included in the new BMW Lines. There are currently three non-metallic and eight metallic exterior paint colours.

The new generation of petrol engines: dynamic power delivery and outstanding fuel efficiency thanks to BMW TwinPower Turbo technology.

The 1.6-litre petrol engines making their debut in the BMW 116i and BMW 118i models use BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, consisting of a twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC and Double-VANOS. The forced-induction system uses the twin-scroll principle, with separate ducts both in the exhaust manifold and the turbocharger itself, each serving one pair of two cylinders. Output is also boosted by VALVETRONIC variable valve control, which is fully integrated into the cylinder

head, and Double-VANOS variable camshaft control on the intake and exhaust sides. The new petrol engines are also unusually fuel-efficient, thanks mainly to High Precision Injection.

The four-cylinder engine of the new BMW 118i, which has an all-aluminium crankcase, has a maximum output of 125 kW/170 hp at 4,800 rpm, and a maximum torque of 250 Nm at between 1,500 and 4,500 rpm. It is exceptionally responsive, accelerating the car from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.4 seconds and on to a maximum speed of 225 km/h. Improved efficiency is reflected in combined-cycle fuel consumption of 5.8 to 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 134 to 137 grams per kilometre (EU test figures, variations due to differences in the tyres fitted).

The new BMW 116i’s four-cylinder engine provides significantly improved driving dynamics compared to the predecessor model. It has an output of 100 kW/136 hp at 4,400 rpm and a maximum torque of 220 Nm between 1,350 and 4,300 rpm. The car takes 8.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h from a standing start, and has a maximum speed of 210 km/h. The new BMW 116i’s fuel consumption over the combined cycle is 5.5 to 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres, and its CO2 emissions are 129 to 132 grams per kilometre (EU test figures, variations due to differences in the tyres fitted).

2012 BMW 1 Series Urban Line photo

An evolutionary step forward: four-cylinder turbodiesel with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and even greater fuel efficiency.

The 2.0-litre diesel engines with TwinPower Turbo technology for the new BMW 1 Series are now even more responsive and economical, thanks to innovations such as reduced engine friction, thermodynamically optimized turbochargers with variable turbine geometry, and next-generation common-rail direct injection with magnetic-valve injectors. The new BMW 120d marks another major advance, with maximum output increased by 5 kW over its predecessor to 135 kW/184 hp at 4,000 rpm, and maximum torque boosted by 30 Nm to 380 Nm between 1,750 and 2,750 rpm. It reaches 100 km/h from a standing start in 7.2 seconds, and has a maximum speed of 228 km/h. Combined-cycle fuel consumption has been reduced to between 4.5 and 4.6 litres per 100 kilometres, with CO2 emissions of 119 to 122 grams per kilometre (EU test figures, variations due to differences in the tyres fitted).

The four-cylinder diesel engine of the new BMW 118d has a maximum output of 105 kW/143 hp at 4,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 320 Nm between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.9 seconds, and has a maximum speed of 212 km/h. Its combined-cycle fuel consumption is 4.4 to 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres, with CO2 emissions of 115 to 118 grams per kilometre (EU test figures, variations due to differences in the tyres fitted).

The new entry-level BMW 116d has a maximum output of 85 kW/116 hp at 4,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 260 Nm between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.3 seconds, and has a maximum speed of 200 km/h. Its combined-cycle fuel consumption is an outstanding 4.3 to 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres, with CO2 emissions an equally impressive 114 to 117 grams per kilometre (EU test figures, variations due to differences in the tyres fitted).

Still out in front in fuel-efficiency.

At a later date, the range will be expanded with the BMW 116d EfficientDynamics Edition. This too will be powered by an 85 kW/116 hp 1.6-litre diesel engine, but the exceptional fuel-efficiency of this, allied to improved aerodynamic performance and reduced rolling resistance will keep fuel consumption down to 3.8 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions down to just 99 grams per kilometre over the EU combined cycle (provisional figures).

But a comprehensive array of consumption and emission-reducing technologies means that all variants of the new BMW 1 Series will continue to embody the concept of fuel-efficiency like no other premium car. BMW EfficientDynamics technologies fitted as standard include Brake Energy Regeneration and electromechanical servo-assisted steering plus, depending on the model, an Optimum Shift Indicator, a self-disconnecting air-conditioning compressor and tyres with reduced rolling resistance. The Automatic Start/Stop function comes as standard with both manual and automatic transmissions. Using the driving experience switch, drivers can activate ECO PRO mode, which is designed to facilitate a particularly economical driving style.

As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual transmission, the new BMW 1 Series is also available with an optional eight-speed automatic

transmission – the only car in the compact segment to offer this. Its principle benefits are faster, smother gear changes, and superior fuel-efficiency.

Perfect handling and increased comfort: high-quality suspension technology, even weight distribution and improved stability control.

The new BMW 1 Series boasts best-in-class suspension technology, with a double-joint cross-strut front axle with MacPherson struts and sway bars, and a five-link rear axle. It has a wider track than its predecessor at both front and rear, and the almost perfect 50:50 weight distribution helps to translate the dynamic advantages of the rear-wheel drive layout into an exciting responses and a more comfortable ride compared with the predecessor model.

The electromechanical power steering of the new BMW 1 Series combines typical BMW precision with very low energy consumption. The optional Servotronic function provides speed-dependent power assist. Variable Sport Steering, also available as an option, reduces the number of steering wheel rotations required to make sharp turns. Further options include Adaptive Suspension, with electronic damper regulation, and 16, 17 and 18-inch light-alloy wheels as an alternative to the standard 16-inch design.

The instant responses of the new BMW 1 Series are due to the combination of a powerful, reliable braking system and DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), which is fitted as standard. Proven features such as ABS (anti-lock braking system), DTC (Dynamic Traction Control), CBC (Cornering Brake Control) and DBC (Dynamic Braking Control) are now augmented with braking assistance, fading compensation, brake drying, hill assist, and, in DSC Off mode, an electronic rear axle differential locking system.

Torsion-resistant body, optimal weight, wide range of safety features.

The lightweight body of the new BMW 1 Series makes it more agile and improves passenger safety, with high-strength steel being used to increase the torsional resistance and strength of the passenger safety cell while minimizing weight. The advances made in this area are reflected in the car’s dynamic responses and its improved power-to-weight ratio compared with its predecessor.

Crumple zones and clearly defined load paths absorb the force of an impact and deflect it away from the passenger cell. The standard safety package comprises front airbags, side airbags built into the seatbacks, front and rear head airbags, three-point automatic belts in all seats, front seatbelt tension limiters and pre-tensioners, and ISOFIX child seat mountings in the rear.

BMW ConnectedDrive: unique comfort, safety, information and entertainment options.

The new BMW 1 Series’ high-tech presence is reflected in an impressive range of driver assistance and mobility services which is unique in a compact car. Options available as part of the BMW ConnectedDrive programme include Adaptive Headlights (in conjunction with the xenon headlights option), a rain sensor with automatic activation of the driving lights, high-beam assistance, Park Distance Control, a rear view camera, Park Assistant, cruise control with braking function, Lane Departure Warning with Collision Warning, and Speed Limit Info, which now for the first time also registers signs prohibiting overtaking.

Innovative technologies ensure seamless integration with the Apple iPhone and other smartphones. The Apps option allows iPhone users to do things like listen to web radio stations through the car’s audio system and use Facebook and Twitter services. In-car Internet access and the new Real-Time Traffic Information function, which provides up-to-the-minute information on congestion and suggests alternative routes, are two further options that are unique in the compact segment.

High-quality standard features include driving experience switch, air conditioning, and keyless ignition.

The driving experience switch, fitted as standard on the centre console, adjusts the car’s set-up to suit the driver’s personal preferences. All models offer a choice of three modes, COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO. On BMW Sport Line models, and on cars fitted with the optional eight-speed sports automatic transmission, Variable Sport Steering or Adaptive Suspension, there is also a fourth mode, SPORT+.

The standard equipment of the new BMW 1 Series also includes remote-controlled central locking, height-adjustable front seats, electric exterior mirrors, electric front and rear windows, BMW Business radio/CD player with six speakers and an AUX IN connection, and air conditioning. The engine is switched on by touching the Start/Stop button whenever the radio key is inside the car.

2012 BMW 1 Series Urban Line photo

Like the predecessor five-door model, the new BMW 1 Series is made at BMW’s Regensburg assembly plant, together with the BMW 3 Series Saloon, CoupĂ© and Convertible, the BMW M3 and the BMW Z4. The plant has produced more than 4.5 million vehicles in its 25-year history.

2012 BMW 1 Series Sport Line photo

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