The 168bhp 120i petrol, 141bhp 118d diesel and 174bhp 120d are the lower-end models. Step up to the twin-turbo 123d, which produces a thumping 201bhp, or the 125i, with its free-revving 215bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine. Top-billing goes to the 135i – a twin-turbo version of the 3.0-litre engine, which develops 302bhp and 295lb ft of torque, and blasts 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds.
Thankfully, the firm ride that blights the 1 Series hatchbacks has, for the most part, been dialled out of the Coupe. The ride is comfortable and forgiving on all but the roughest roads, and you're also sure to love the unflustered body control on swift B-roads. Even so, push a wee bit too enthusiastically around a tight bend and it's the nose of the car which will run wide.
All the engines are smooth and quiet, and along with its new-found subtlety, the suspension is also remarkably quiet. There's still a fair amount of road noise to be heard coursing through the wheelarches and the volume is cranked up further at motorway speeds by wind noise around the door mirrors.
It's a BMW, so resale values should be strong. With engine stop-start technology, the 118d will achieve an excellent 62.8mpg on average, and the 120d 60.1mpg. The 118d also emits just 119g/km of carbon dioxide, and the 120d 125g/km.
Inside, familiar BMW architecture confronts the driver. The clearly marked instruments and tactile buttons, stalks and switches all have the same quality feel of more expensive models from BMW's portfolio. Closer examination reveals many of the plastic panels feel quite hard to the touch, however.
Six airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control are standard on every 1 Series model. Deadlocks are in place to keep thieves at bay.
There's plenty of head- and legroom up front, and even the lankiest driver will have no problem finding a perfect driving position. There's a wide range of steering wheel and seating adjustments, but if you don't specify electrically adjustable seats, you'll need to pull on levers and simultaneously shift your weight to get the seat to move up and down, and back and forth.
Given its compact dimensions, it comes as no surprise that the rear quarters are not the most accommodating. There are only two seats, so shoulder room is acceptable, but a whacking great transmission tunnel runs down the middle of the car, and even kids will find their knees pressed up against the back of the front seats. At least there's a decent-sized boot, which can be boosted thanks to 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks.
Entry-level ES versions have electric windows, air-conditioning, alloy wheels, an MP3 input and automatic headlights and wipers; Sport trim adds 17-inch alloys, sports seats and front foglamps. Opt for SE to get climate control and rear parking sensors. M Sport models have a bodykit, larger alloys and lowered suspension.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
This version of the 1 Series Coupe has something for the heart and head; it’s desirable and enjoyable to drive, but ownership costs are affordable and you get a decent standard of kit. Overall, it's our favourite version of the car