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BMW 1 Series (2004 - 2011)

Last updated 2 March 2016

 
3
Great to drive and superbly built. Wide choice of models, improved from 2007 with Efficient Dynamics. 118d is super economical.
Not much room in the back. Firm ride on Sport and M Sport models. 116i petrol is fairly lacklustre. Coil and injector problems on later 4-cylinder petrol engines. Timing chain failures on N47 diesel engines becoming very common.
Updated 19 February 2016

Timing chain of 2008/58 BMW 118d failed at 90k miles. Engine rebuolt by independent speciaist. Also recently needed new DMF, clutch and ED battery. Now running perfectly but owner worried. I...

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Introduction

When the BMW 1 Series was launched in 2004 the most controversial aspect was the styling which certainly divided opinion. Whether it will become a design classic remains to be seen, but it certainly hasn't put people off and the BMW 1 Series has become one of the most popular premium hatchbacks around.

The first impression you get from the BMW 1 Series is an air of solidity. Like all BMWs, it feels superbly engineered and incredibly well built both inside and out. Just because it's the cheapest model in the BMW line-up, doesn't mean it's a poor relation to the larger cars.

As you'd expect, this BMW is also great once you get behind the wheel. It's rear-wheel drive, which is ideal for grip and agility, so the 1 Series is composed in corners and good fun to drive, even with the smaller engines. That said, the original 116i is best avoided unless you're on a tight budget as it's fairly lacklustre and lacks low down punch. The 118i or 118d are much better choices.

It's certainly not the most spacious of cars either - particularly for rear seat passengers where there's a shortage of leg and headroom for adults. The boot isn't a bad size though and the large tailgate means you can carry some sizeable loads. For practicality there are better cars, but as premium hatchbacks go, the 1 Series is the best all rounder with a great choice of efficient engines.

Road Test BMW E87 120d SE 2004

Road Test BMW E81 118d Efficient Dynamics 2007

Next: Model History

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Owners' Reviews

3
I20i ..170 bhp auto
By London drac

Fast but flawed

On 17 October 2015
4

A WOLF in sheeps clothing!

On 20 March 2015
4
118d 5dr Hatchback
By roywallis43

Good to drive, fairly economical.

On 1 May 2014
 

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