2024 BMW 1 Series revealed: Family car gets mild hybrid tech

Fourth-generation BMW 1 Series family car features slimmed-down engine range and mild hybrid tech...

BMW M135i front driving

On sale October | Price from £29,950

Studies have shown that more isn’t always better; the agony of choice sometimes puts buyers off from buying anything at all. It’s a lesson that the minds behind the new BMW 1 Series have taken to heart, because while the old car was available with a plethora of engine choices, there are now only two.

The 120i is likely to be the most popular choice; it uses a three-cylinder petrol engine with 168bhp and mild hybrid technology to help reduce your fuel bills. Official figures suggest the 120 is capable of returning up to 53.2mpg, with C02 emissions of as low as 121g/km – placing the 120 in the 29% Benefit in Kind tax bracket for company car drivers.

BMW 1 Series 120 rear static

If you want more excitement, the M135 offers 296bhp from its 2.0-litre petrol engine (a few horsepower less than the equivalent engine in the old 1 Series) and can sprint to 62mph in 4.9sec. That’s a smidgeon slower than the rival Audi S3 can manage, while the Mercedes-AMG A45 drops that time to just 4.2sec. The M135i officially returns 37.1mpg, and its the only 1 Series that gives you traction-enhancing four-wheel drive.

Manual gearboxes have gone the way of the Dodo for this latest 1 Series, with a seven-speed automatic gearbox now standard across the range.

BMW 1 Series interior

The fourth-generation 1 Series has been hitting the protein shakes hard, resulting in it being longer and taller than its predecessor, with a longer distance between its front and rear wheels. Despite this growth, its boot is no bigger than that of the old car; at 380 litres, it should take around five carry-on suitcases – the same number as in the rival Audi A3.

Speaking of the interior, this is leather-free as standard on Sport models. M Sport cars get Sports seats and discreet M badging inside, to match their beefier exterior looks.

BMW 1 Series 120 front

The latest 1 Series features a 10.7in digital instrument cluster and 10.25in infotainment screen. We praised the outgoing car’s infotainment system for being easy to use on the move, thanks to its physical rotary controller, but that’s been discontinued for this model; instead, BMW’s latest software features always-visible controls for adjusting such functions as the air conditioning. 

The new 1 Series is sandwiched between its A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class rivals on price, with the 120 Sport costing £29,950 and M Sport models prices from £31,950. The M135i, meanwhile, is priced from £41,000.

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