BMW 1 Series Review

BMW 1 Series

The BMW 1 Series range...

List Price

£25,745 - £39,905

Acceleration (0-62mph)

4.8 - 10.3 seconds

Top speed

124 - 155 mph

Engine Power

116 - 306 bhp

CO2 Emissions

155 - 157 g/km

Fuel Economy (Combined)

41.5 - 41.5 mpg

Prices & Specification

Excellent range of engines; great to drive; very well built.


Looks might deter some; not cheap to buy.

The new BMW 1 Series has taken the bar up a notch again. There are 10 excellent engines available all of which are as strong, or stronger, than their competitors and offer excellent economy. The rear wheel drive is unique in this class and makes the BMW 1 Series shine in the handling department. Its distinct styling may not be to everyone’s taste and boot space, whilst better than its predecessor, isn’t amazing.


There are 10 excellent engines on offer leaving the buyer spoilt for BMW 1 Series performance choices. The entry level 114i is a 1.6 litre petrol engine producing 102 bhp.  A step up from this is the 116i 2.0 litre petrol engine and this is very fine indeed, fitted with a twin turbo and blasting out 136 bhp, most drivers won’t feel the need to upgrade beyond this. If you do want something even juicier though there is the 118i which gives you an extra 35 bhp and can hit top speeds of 140 mph, and beyond that there is the 125i and 135i M Performance model. There are also 5 diesels available, the pick of which is the 120d. The fastest diesel engine in the range is the 125d and it can do 0-62 mph in 6.5 seconds whilst still doing 58.9 mpg, and what’s more you can get it with an excellent 8 speed gearbox.


You won’t find any of the BMW 1 Series’ competition running around with rear wheel drive and that might well be why the 1 Series’ handling feels a class above them. The car is incredibly well balanced; the weight is equally distributed throughout the car, making it fun, responsive and sharp to drive. The new fully independent suspension system was tested on the less than flat roads of the UK, which has resulted in a very smooth drive.


The BMW 1 Series styling has been somewhat controversial, with a large chunk of people thinking that this car is pretty offensive on the eye. In actuality it’s a bit of a marmite car, you’ll either love its chunky face and its big swooping sides or you’ll hate them, but it’s worth going and having a look and making up your own mind.


As we have come to expect these days with German cars, the quality level of the BMW 1 Series interior is high; everything inside the car feels substantial and classy, with no cheap plastic to be seen. The seats are comfortable and supportive. As you get further back in the BMW 1 Series you begin to get a little disappointed with the space available, rear passengers will have enough leg room, but they certainly won’t feel overwhelmed and the boot is functional rather than cavernous.


BMW have not been stingy with the 1 Series equipment levels. As standard you get, amongst other things, climate control, 16 inch alloys, a CD player, and a leather steering wheel, though for Bluetooth you do have to step up to the SE range. This also gets you a flat screen monitor and a gadget filled leather steering wheel. If you want higher BMW 1 Series equipment levels then above this are the Sport, M Sport and Urban models. The Sport models unsurprisingly give the car a more sporty edge including bigger alloys, a sprinkling of chrome and sporty interior. The Urban adds an air of sophistication, with a few nice styling touches.


A 5 star Euro NCAP rating and plenty of safety kit as standard makes the BMW 1 Series a pretty safe place to be. 6 airbags come as standard, as does stability control. There is also a plethora of safety equipment available to add to this including run flat tyres, lane departure warning and a selection of aids to help with braking and parking.

Buying & Owning4/5

BMW’s are built to last, with the quality of the build being excellent and the 1 Series’ reliability record is exemplary. You will have to shell out quite a bit initially to get this car, but after that the lack of repairs, the excellent economy offered by the engines and the good sell on values mean that it will look like money well spent. The only thing that might hit you in the pocket is BMW’s steep servicing costs.

Reviewed by cars2buy