2012 BMW 1 Series: 99g/km + 74mpg + RWD = QED

2012 BMW 1 Series: 99g/km + 74mpg + RWD = QED (c) BMW

2012 BMW 1 Series: 99g/km + 74mpg + RWD = QED (c) BMW

The new BMW 1 Series hasn’t had the best initial reception. Leaked over the weekend, BMW was forced to follow up with the official release of images, duly forcing journalists to scrabble round on Saturday night/Sunday morning in reaction. The dominos effect of internet leaks.

This gave little chance for constructive commentary. No need. Reader comments and internet forums did that for us – and initial consensus is that the new 1er design is a bit, err, challenging. The potential customers have spoken and, on first glance, they’re not too keen on what they see.

Wait until you see it in the metal, said a BMW spokesman. Thus, I will do. Besides, there’s plenty more of interest here, as BMW pushes on the family hatch sector with new tech features and the most compact application yet of that wonderful ZF 8-speed automatic.

EcoStig only has eyes for one stat, though: 99g/km. Yes, when the new BMW 116d EfficientDynamics is launched, it will become the first sub-100g/km CO2 production BMW ever. Returning 74.3mpg, it will take BMW to the forefront of the green family hatch sector in one leap.

Love the VW Golf Bluemotion, for all its eco-greenery? Well, then, here’s the BMW that matches its CO2 figure. Blimey.

Double-blimey, as BMW has done it while retaining the brand-defining rear-wheel drive. The launch of a front-drive BMW in the future is now virtually fact, but it hasn’t happened yet: no, BMW has gone and achieved a staggering level of efficiency while retaining the driver-pleasing benefits of rear-wheel drive.

With 116hp to go round, it maybe won’t be the most tail-out of machines (bagsy one on standard-size tyres, for the best opportunity at tomfoolery), but the balance and corruption-free steering benefits of rear-drive are still likely to please EcoStig

The notion that eco cars have to make the driver suffer for doing their bit has been chipped away at for years. Now, BMW’s making a further step on to ensuring cake can both be had and eaten.

Naturally, there’s a load of other stuff that will please EcoStig. The Driver (that’s me) Experience Switch offers choice of Comfort (pah) and Sport (default) modes – along with, in the EfficientDynamics, a new ECO PRO setting (good lord, that’s me again!).

This is a bit more hairshirt, as it adjusts the engine map, heating, air conditioning and both mirror and seat heating to maximise fuel economy. Translation: less power or response, no air con and seat heaters in winter instead of nicking heat from the engine.

More sufferance for the cause: at least the extent of the improvements in ECO PRO mode will be shown in a special display on the car’s dashboard, as reward.

Overall, the new BMW 1 Series is compelling, then: 74.3mpg, 99g/km CO2, RWD AND a switch dedicated to eco pros. Besides, EcoStig rarely cares how a car looks, so long as it goes well, and far…


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