BMW 1 Series review

Category: Family car

Section: Introduction

BMW 1 Series 2022 front right tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 front right tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 rear cornering
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior dashboard
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior rear seats
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior infotainment
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 front right tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 right tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 front tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 rear tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 right tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 front right static
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 rear lights detail
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 rear detail
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior front seats
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior detail
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior steering wheel detail
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 front right tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 rear cornering
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior dashboard
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior rear seats
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior infotainment
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 front right tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 right tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 front tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 rear tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 right tracking
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 front right static
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 rear lights detail
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 rear detail
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior front seats
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior detail
  • BMW 1 Series 2022 interior steering wheel detail
What Car?’s 1 Series deals
New car deals
Save up to £2,035
Target Price from £26,722
Save up to £2,035
or from £324pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £34,600
Leasing deals
From £341pm

Introduction

What Car? says...

The BMW 1 Series has been a staple contender among premium family hatchbacks for a while, appealing to anyone looking to mix practicality with a dose of glamour.

This latest, third-generation 1 Series has one big change that's upset a few enthusiasts – namely, it now has front-wheel drive rather than rear. In the real world, that's actually made it a far more accomplished family car.

For more information about the more powerful hot-hatch 1 Series variants, see our BMW 128ti First Drive and BMW M135i review.

Once you've picked your next new car, we can help you make sure you don't pay over the odds for it. Simply search for the best prices listed on our free What Car? New Car Buying service. It's a good place to find the latest BMW 1 Series deals.

More on the BMW 1 Series

New BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class >>

Used BMW 1 Series buying guide >>

BMW 1 Series long-term test >>

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

Our favourite engine for the BMW 1 Series is the 118i petrol. It's a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder with 134bhp that’ll get you from 0-62mph in 8.9sec. That’s slightly slower than the 35 TFSI Audi A3 but quicker than the A180 Mercedes A-Class. It's certainly brisk enough, and pulls well from low down in the rev range, making it an easy and relaxing companion for everyday driving.

The M135i (reviewed separately here) has a 302bhp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder unit. It’s an impressive hot hatch, but is upstaged by its cheaper sibling, the BMW 128ti, which uses a detuned version of the M135i’s engine for 261bhp and still feels pleasingly punchy (0-62mph in 6.1sec).

Suspension and ride comfort

We'd suggest going for the stiffer M Sport trim to maximise those virtues, though. Even tighter control leads to less body lean, making it feel more agile when switching from left to right at speed. That said, some people might find the 1 Series a bit too lively – we found that the A3 offers more confidence-inspiring steering, a better handling balance and more front-end grip.

The 128ti and M135i hot hatches get their own bespoke steering and suspension set-ups to help keep them flatter in corners. With four-wheel drive, the M135i has amazing traction on greasy, winding roads but the front-wheel drive 128ti is the more engaging driver’s car, thanks to its more natural-feeling steering and playful chassis.

Noise and vibration

FAQs

  • Yes. In the most recent What Car? Reliability Survey petrol versions of the current BMW 1 Series finished an impressive third out of 24 family car models (up to five years old). The previous-generation (2011-2019) 1 Series did even better, coming top of the table. Read more here
  • While the rival Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class are sold as plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), there’s no equivalent version of the BMW 1 Series. This is all the more disappointing given that the BMW 330e and BMW X5 xDrive45e are among the best PHEVs in their classes. There’s no 1 Series electric car either. Read more here
  • The entry-level 118i petrol model is the pick of the BMW 1 Series range because it’s temptingly priced and the turbocharged 1.5-litre engine feels suitably punchy. We also recommend the M Sport trim, mainly because it comes with stiffer suspension, which improves the car’s handling without making the ride uncomfortable. Read more here
  • In SE form, the BMW 1 Series comes with a DAB radio, Bluetooth, automatic lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, automatic emergency braking (AEB) and a lane-departure warning system. The more expensive M Sport car has sportier looks inside and out, plus sports suspension, heated front seats and leather trim. Read more here
  • Very good. The 1 Series comes with BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, which is packed with features, yet easier to use than all rival set-ups. You can control it using a rotary dial and shortcut buttons as well as by prodding the screen directly, while the menus are well laid out and the graphics look sharp.Read more here
  • The BMW 1 Series has a 380-litre boot, which matches the capacity of the Audi A3 and beats that of the Mercedes A-Class. The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split, whereas the A-Class has a more versatile 40/20/40 arrangement. Read more here
At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £2,035
Target Price from £26,722
Save up to £2,035
or from £324pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £34,600
Leasing deals
From £341pm
RRP price range £27,245 - £42,935
Number of trims (see all)5
Number of engines (see all)6
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol, diesel
MPG range across all versions 38.2 - 61.4
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,578 / £3,103
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £3,156 / £6,206
Available colours