Launched: BMW 1 series
The only front-engined, rear-wheel-driven hatch in today's world goes on sale in India
We've all been waiting for this moment to arrive for quite some time now, and arrived it has - BMW has launched the 1 series in India, and we're feeling rather excited.
The reason for that is, if you didn't know it already, the 1 is the only front-engined, rear-wheel-drive hatchback in the world as of today. And with the engine options BMW is offering here, it has sufficient power to direct at those rear wheels too, with a 1.6-litre turbopetrol delivering 136bhp and 220Nm of torque in the 116i, or a 2-litre turbodiesel making 143bhp and 320Nm of torque in the 118d. However, we only get the capable 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox as standard with both engines, so no rowing through the gears in this 1.
The 1 series will be available in a total of three trims - the 116i will only be available in Base trim, with the 118d available in Base, Sport as well as Sport Plus variants. The Base trim gets fog lamps, rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloys, a start-stop button, a stereo with Aux-in, six airbags and ABS. The higher Sport Line variant features two-zone climate control, electrically-adjustable driver's seat with memory function, BMW's iDrive system and Bluetooth and USB compatibility for the music player. Go one step further with the Sport Plus and you will find sports seats, a leather steering wheel, larger 17-inch rims, keyless entry, AC vents for the rear passengers and a sunroof.
This is what we've been looking forward to the most - the price. The 1 is now the entry point to BMW ownership, and since it will be assembled at BMW's Chennai plant, we knew it would be priced cheaper than its immediate rival, the Mercedes A-Class. And we were right, for it has been priced at Rs 20.90 lakh for the 116i, Rs 22.90 lakh for the 118d, Rs 25.90 lakh for the 118d Sport Line and Rs 29.90 lakh for the range-topping 118d Sport Plus.
So, the 1 vs the A-Class. Good ol' rear-wheel-drive vs jaw-dropping looks. Which side are you on? We've reviewed the BMW 118d, if you'd like to have a look...