Is your car your pride and joy, or are you ready for a change? Let us know and you could win a £300 John Lewis voucher | No thanks

BMW 1 Series (2011–)

Last updated 30 April 2019

Dimensions
Length 4324–4329 mm
Width 1984 mm
Height 1411–1440 mm
Wheelbase 2690 mm
Boot Space 360–1200 L

Full specifications

Interior

The BMW 1 Series is one of very few family hatchbacks that’s still offered with three- or five-doors, but it barely needs pointing out that you’ll want the five-door if practicality is any kind of priority. Even on the five-door, the rear door aperture is pretty narrow, and there’s less legroom in the back than in rivals like the Audi A3.

The boot is adequate but is a fraction too narrow to lie a standard lightweight child's buggy across the boot floor, and the shape of the boot opening makes it tricky to load bulky stuff, too. So, while you will get four adults and a couple of chunky suitcases in the 1 Series with relative ease, this is still one of the less practical alternatives in the class.

Up front, the 1 Series is spacious and feels seriously plush and high-tech, provided you’re willing to pay for that finish. In terms of infotainment, every car gets a 6.5-inch screen complete with rotary-controlled navigation, DAB radio and CD player, but most buyers will also want the Professional Media pack, which brings a wider touchscreen system, voice control and upgraded nav, but Apple CarPlay is still a further optional extra.

Two-zone air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, adjustable lumbar support and cruise control are also fairly ordinary conveniences that BMW charges extra for on most of the range. On top of all that, electric seats are worth considering since the manual seat adjustment is pretty clunky.

Ultimately, the BMW 1 Series can have one of the most lavish and high-tech interiors in the class, but only if you’re willing to pay for the privilege. A basic Sport model with cloth seats and standard nav screen will have less equipment, and will likely feel barely any more ‘premium’ than cheaper rivals like the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

Standard equipment:

SE gets 16-inch alloys, 6.5-inch screen with rotary-controlled ‘iDrive’ sat-nav and media system, Bluetooth, DAB radio, multi-function steering wheel, auto lights and wipers, and single-zone climate control.

SE Business is a no brainer for company car users, as it gets everything that SE does plus rear parking sensors, LED headlights and rear parking sensors. Retail customers might struggle to get good finance deals on this trim.

Sport adds variable drive modes (switchable steering, throttle and – if you’ve got an auto’ – gearbox settings), 17-inch alloys, interior ambient lighting and various style tweaks including gloss black highlights inside and out.

M Sport looks much burlier thanks to 18-inch alloys, M Sport bodykit and LED foglights, while inside there’s leather seats with contrast blue stitching, sports seats, a too-chunky M steering wheel, chrome door sill finishers. Firmer M Sport suspension is standard but can be deleted at no cost.

Shadow Edition is the range topper for the ‘standard’ 1-Series range, and adds rear parking sensors, uprated brakes, rear parking sensors, cruise control, LED headlights and rear light signatures, and an (excellent) harman/kardon sound system. You’ll still pay extra for BMW Professional media system, Apple CarPlay, two-zone climate control, adjustable lumbar support, keyless entry and a reversing camera.

M140i is a trim in its own right, and it gets 18-inch alloys, adaptive M Sport suspension and two-zone air-conditioning. Given the performance on offer, this is an unlikely candidate for being the best value 1 Series model and is priced very well next to its rivals.

M140i Shadow Edition adds rear parking sensors, cruise control, LED lights and harman/kardon sound system.

List Price from £23,010
Buy new from £19,087
Contract hire from £215.22 per month
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car