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BMW 1 Series (2011 - )

Last updated 6 February 2017


What's good

Five Star Euro NCAP result: 91% adult safety; 83% child safety; 63% pedestrian safety; 86% safety assist.

What to watch out for

The sub 100g/km, 116d Efficient Dynamics model was not available until March 2012. The models released in September 2011 are the Sport and Urban designs - neither had the ED engine and so emit 117g/km.

Warning about the 'Mobile Application Preparation (6NR)' option at £130. This is ESSENTIAL because it enables the iPhone ‘BMW Connected Drive’ app, including web radio. BMW UK officially doesn’t or won’t support a retrofit of 6NR (though 'fixes' are available via idependent specialists).

Drains to bulkhead vent wells prone to getting blocked with leaves, making wiring in the area vulnerable to moisture ingress. Make sure you keep the drains clear both sides.

16-7-2013: Parts shortage for front suspension of M135i reported. One 135i off the road for at least 5 weeks following pothole damage.

10-3-2014: Report of brakes failing completely on 18k mile 2014/64 BMW 116i. Brake pedal went hard.

1-7-2015: Problems reported with 2013 F20 114i over 15k miles: front windscreen washers not working (twice) and Amber Warning--Drivetrain.

1-4-2016: Report of clutch/DMF seizing on 2015 BMW 118d at 12,000 miles, mainly motorway. Replaced FoC under warranty, but driver's driving blamed.

5-4-2016: Report of "Quality Enhancement” programme to F20 1-Series involving fitting a new cap to the brake fluid reservoir because water can through the standard cap and contaminate the brake fluid. When a reader's 2014/64 BMW 120d xDrive M-Sport with 13,500 miles was being checked the dealer found water in the braking system meaning the car also requires a new DSC hydro unit and the system draining and refilling. Unfortunately, the necessary parts are not available until 30th June 2016.

21-7-2016: Intermittent failure of instrument display of 3,500 mile 2015/65 BMW 1-Series. Resets by switching off ignition and re-starting, but then fails again. Suspect a bad earth somewhere.

3-8-2016: Report of clutch failing on 2011 BMW 1-Series a month after purchase at 16k miles in November 2015. Clutch replaced under warranty, then failed again at 22k miles in July 2016.

17-8-2016: Report of timing chain of N47 2013 BMW 116d being replaced under warranty in 2015. Owner now worried that will still suffer from the same infamous N47 tensioner problem.

24-12-2016: Report of red lights appearing on dash of 2012 BMW 118i at 52k miles. BMW dealer charged £160 for electronic diagnosis, but would not tell the customer what the diagnosis was, citing "BMW copyright". Would only state that £2,800 of parts were needed. Later transpired that the plastic timing chein tensioners had broken up and bits fallen into the sump, so the £2,800 was to replace the timing chain and tensioner, someting the BMW dealer seemed to want to keep secret.

6-2-2017: Report of 2013 BMW 118i developing timing chain issue at 25,000 miles and 6 months out of BMW warranty. Unfortunately, missed a service by 2 months where the issue (lack of oil?) might have been picked up and corrected.


15-4-2014: Worldwide recall of 489,000 cars with six-cylinder petrol engines of which less than 3,000 are in the UK. This includes the N55 6-cylinder petrol turbo (from 2009). The screws for the housing of the adjustment unit of the variable camshaft timing (Vanos) for the intake and exhaust camshafts could potentially become loose or break. An engine warning lamp ‘should ’ appear in such circumstances, but if drivers experience any loss of power they should contact their BMW dealer immediately.

30-4-2014: Just-Auto gives further details of BMW VANOS bolts recall in the USA: BMW of North America is recalling 156,000 cars from model years 2010 through 2012 due to Vanos bolts breaking causing petrol engines to stall. Models include 2010-2011 MY 128i Coupe, 128i Convertible, 328i Sedan, 328i xDrive Sedan, 328i Coupe, 328i Convertible, 328i Sports Wagon and Z4 sDrive 30i. And 2011-2012 MY 135i Coupe, 135i Convertible, 335i Sedan, X5 xDrive 35i, and X6 xDrive 35i, 2011 335i xDrive Sedan, 335i Coupe, 335i Convertible, 528i Sedan, 535i Sedan, 535i xDrive Sedan, X3 xDrive 28i, and X3 xDrive 35i, 2010 X3 xDrive 30i, and X5 xDrive 30i, 2012 640i Coupe, and 640i Convertible and 2010-2012 535i Gran Turismo vehicles. In the affected vehicles, the bolts that secure the housing for the variable camshaft timing adjustment (VANOS) unit can loosen over time and may possibly break. BMW notified owners, and dealers will replace the four VANOS housing bolts for both VANOS units (intake and exhaust), free of charge. The recall began in May 2014. In addition, owners of approximately 170,172 model year 2010-2012 BMWs with inline 6 cylinder petrol engines not covered by this recall receive an extended warranty to address this condition. Owners may contact BMW.

28-7-2014: R/2014/068 BMW 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, X1, X3, X5, Z4 Build Dates 1-9-2009 to 30-11-2011: Concern : ENGINE EMERGENCY MODE MAY BE ACTIVATED DURING DRIVING Description : The screws retaining the variable camshaft timing (VANOS) housing may loosen and under certain circumstances the heads may break off. This can lead to the VANOS leaking oil internally and adversely affect the valve timing adjustment. If found to deviating from targeted data the engine emergency mode will be activated. This will be indicated by a distinct change in engine running. The orange engine management warning lamp and a check message; On vehicles with N51/N52 engines this will appear at ignition recycle, on N55 engine it will display immediately. Remedial Action : Replace bolted connection of the VANOS adjustment unit.

5-4-2016: Report of "Quality Enhancement” programme to F20 1-Series involving fitting a new cap to the brake fluid reservoir because water can through the standard cap and contaminate the brake fluid.

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Owners' Reviews


Nice car, but a marginal BMW.

On 18 February 2017

Expensive and flawed!

On 11 February 2017
116i Sport 136 5dr Hatchback
By chris mouland


On 30 January 2017

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