Alex Rae’s 2017 BMW 1 and 2 Series LCI Review With Specs, Pricing, Performance, Ride And Handling, Safety, Verdict And Score.

In A Nutshell: Dropped pricing on M140i headlines the LCI update while the rest of the range continues with business as usual.

2017 1 and 2 Series LCI

PRICING From $39,090+ORC WARRANTY three-years, 100,000 kilometres SAFETY five-star ANCAP ENGINE 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol, 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo diesel, 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, 3.0-litre six-cyl turbo petrol  POWER 100kW/110kW/135kW/165kW/250kW TORQUE 220Nm/320Nm/270Nm/310Nm/500Nm TRANSMISSION Eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual DRIVE rear-wheel drive DIMENSIONS 4324mm (L); 1765mm (W); 1411mm (H) BOOT SPACE 360 litres SPARE Space Saver WEIGHT From 1418kg FUEL TANK 52 litres THIRST 4.8-7.1L/100km (combined)

YOU’D BE FORGIVEN for missing what’s changed on the updated BMW 1 and 2 Series LCI. The headlights have been tweaked, along with the taillights, and there’s iDrive 6 infotainment inside along with some other minor tweaks. But what you’ll really appreciate is the new pricing on the M140i which puts the hot hatch under $60,000 for the first time ever.

To celebrate the 1 and 2 Series LCI update, BMW decided to return to where the hero BMW M2 (main image) first launched, on the targa stages of Tasmania. Although conditions were wet and the roads slippy, there was still plenty of fun to be had with BMW’s gracefully ageing small cars.

What Is The BMW 1 and 2 Series LCI?

The 1 Series and 2 Series represent BMW smallest offerings but they afford a well sized interior space and aren’t short on comfort. While the 1 Series range are hatchback the 2 Series are either 2 door coupe or 4 door gran coupes. The 1 Series starts with the entry-level 118d and ends with the M140i whereas the 2 Series starts with the 218d and tops out with the M240i, before stepping up to the M Division’s M2 mini-monster. There’s no M1, yet, and the M140i is the current high performance offering – and at $59,990 it represents terrific value for money. We’ll get to who good it is later, but you can also read our in-depth M140i Performance Edition review.

Available for us to test on launch in Tasmania were only the updated M140i from the 1-series range and the 230i (pictured -grey), M240i and M2.

Monday 11th September to Wednesday 13th September 2017. BMW 230i. World Copyright: BMW Ref: Digital Image 11-130917_BMW_DKIMG0071.NEF

Changes to both ranges include minor front and rear style changes, iDrive 6 infotainment, new exterior colours, alloy wheel changes and interior tweaks.

Monday 11th September to Wednesday 13th September 2017. BMW 230i. World Copyright: BMW Ref: Digital Image 11-130917_BMW_DKIMG0071.NEF

Mechanically, the cars remain the same. With the smallest engine in the 115i/215i a 1.5-litre three-cylinder, growing into a four-cylinder turbo petrol/diesel and finally BMW revered 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbocharged powerplant featuring in the M140i, M240i and M2. All three sixers also produce the same 250kW/500Nm power output across, which highlights the value of the M140i compared to the M240i ($76,800+ORC) and M2 ($93,300+ORC) which has a slight price bump.

A six-speed manual is available, as a no-cost option, however all test vehicles we drove were fitted with an eight-speed automatic.

What’s The Interior Of The 1 and 2 Series LCI like?

Inside, there’s a good amount of arm space between the front occupants and in the second row two adults will fit in the outer seats without too much issue. The second row is reasonable for leg room – especially the 2 Series coupe, there’s also two seat-back pouches, an air vent and 12v outlet (no USB outlets in the back, there’s one in the front).

Monday 11th September to Wednesday 13th September 2017. BMW 230i. World Copyright: BMW Ref: Digital Image 11-130917_BMW_DKIMG0071.NEF

The driver’s seat offers good adjustment and so it’s easy to find a good driving position. The steering wheel also features ample adjustment for both short and tall drivers, and feels good in the hands – although it lacks the feel of the M140i Performance Edition’s Alcantara wheel but then so does just about every other steering wheel ever made. Sigh.

Monday 11th September to Wednesday 13th September 2017. BMW 230i. World Copyright: BMW Ref: Digital Image 11-130917_BMW_DKIMG0071.NEF

Around back, the boot offers a modest 360 litres in the 1 Series (although it expands via 60:40 split-fold seats to 1200 litres) and the 2 Series coupe offers 390 litres with its slightly deeper boot. In our longer review time during the year we found it enough to carry gear such as a large fold-up pram.

What’s The BMW 1 and 2 Series LCI Like To Drive?

The roads of Tasmania are unforgiving and we spent two days on Targa Tasmania stages – the hardest, slippiest and most gruelling of all. But the 1 and 2 Series, which are light on their feet and, in the case of the M140i/M240i and M2, offer a tremendous amount of grunt combined with sharp handling, were well matched.

Poorer surfaces showed too-firm a suspension damping for some sections when in Sport mode. Returning the settings back to Comfort provided for a less crashy ride, and the M140i, perhaps, with its lower centre of gravity, felt ever so slightly stiffer than the M240i. But that didn’t stop the little hatch from utilising its tremendous 500Nm of torque to cruise up the steep ascent from Taraleah power station. Streaming wet conditions commanded only a quarter throttle before traction was an issue, but the Michellin Pilot Super Sport tyres did a good job despite the conditions of keeping this tidy.

Conversely, the 230i (pictured), which was the least powerful we drove, was able to utilise nearly all of its power but its run-flat Bridgestone Potenza tyres proved to firm to lean on when conditions turned sodden. However, the lighter engine provides for a well balanced car that is fun to drive – priced from $63,900 (+ORCs), it is the value pick in the range. The M240i adds more grunt and its Pilot Super Sport rubber lets you push it harder, but drive the 230i and you’d be forgiven for thinking the 230i is all the car you need. If you did want to pony up to a six-cylinder and the sound track it offers, the M240i, at just $20K shy of the M2, provides a similar equation as the difference between the 230i/M240i.

The M2, however, felt the best to sit in and steer. Despite a slight price hike it felt the sharpest and was perfectly matched to the roads we drove across, despite the wet conditions. We didn’t get to sample the six-speed manual-equipped coupe but the eight-speed automatic is quick to shift and the convenience of steering wheel mounted paddle shifters was welcome as the roads began to tighten.

Braking across all models was progressive and predictable.

What Safety Features do The 1 and 2 Series LCI get?

The BMW 1 and 2 Series have been awarded a 5-star ANCAP rating. Standard safety includes adaptive LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors and speed limit information. AEB, adaptive cruise control and lane departure are available as standard or optional extras across the range with the extra-cost BMW Driving Assistant package.

So, What Do We Think Of The 1 and 2 Series LCI?

The 1 and 2 Series LCI are a light update but BMW has managed to stir enthusiasm with its new M140i pricing. It puts the M140i at arms length of competitors, such as the VW Golf R and Ford Focus RS and more affordable than premium rivals like the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45. But it stand out from all of those with its thumping 3.0-litre six-cylinder and rear-wheel drive layout.

The 2 Series doesn’t get any special pricing, and the M2 pricing goes the opposite direction, but it still offers good value and some of the sharpest performance in its segment. Despite increasing Aussie stock of the M2, it will still sell out. And fast.

Monday 11th September to Wednesday 13th September 2017. BMW 230i. World Copyright: BMW Ref: Digital Image 11-130917_BMW_DKIMG0071.NEF


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About Author

Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax,, AMC, Just Cars, and more.


  1. “…the 2 Series are either 2 door coupe or 4 door gran coupes…” is this a mistake? I don’t think they come in 4 door.

    1. But BMW has said they will make wait for it, 1 series coupe just to make a mockery of their already ludicrous naming scheme.

      1 series is butt ugly but 140i decent value, 2 series is nice looking but interior room is a joke in the back, why it so much worse and pricing is ludicrous. 2 series needed about 10K slashed from it at least and that would still make it a lot dearer than UK pricing

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