Cost & verdict

BMW 1 Series review

Manufacturer price from:£22,450
What Car? Target Price:£20,787
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BMW 1 Series
Review continues below...
10 May 2015 22:00 | Last updated: 21 Aug 2018 10:06

In this review

Cost & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

BMW 1 Series hatchback running costs

You pay a premium for the BMW badge and trim levels such as M Sport are not particularly good value, with steep price rises for a few bits of bodykit and larger alloy wheels. Fortunately, you can often haggle good discounts, while SE models are more keenly priced and very competitive when it comes to PCP finance deals.

Leasing rates are pretty attractive, especially on diesel versions, and fixed-price servicing plans can go some way to helping you budget. Crucially, the majority of the engines emit sensible levels of CO2, making them reasonable on company car tax.

Fuel consumption should also be competitive. Okay, models such as the M140i will cost you a pretty penny in petrol, but the 116d, for example, will do an average 65.7mpg in official tests – that's right up there with its rivals.

BMW 1 Series hatchback equipment

Entry-level SE models are the best value, with all the infotainment kit you could reasonably want, as well as 16in alloy wheels, air-con, front and rear (on five-door models) electric windows and auto lights and wipers. SE Business on the 116d model is great value because it adds LED headlights, cruise control and rear parking sensors, but you are limited to that entry-level diesel engine.

Sport mostly adds style upgrades, such as 17in alloy wheels and sports seats with more side support, while M Sport and Shadow Editions are yet more image-focused, with part-Alcantara seats and lowered suspension (which can be swapped for the standard set-up at no extra cost). You also get a few more toys, but not enough to justify the extra money.

BMW 1 Series

BMW 1 Series hatchback reliability

As a brand, BMW came 17th out of 32 manufacturers in our latest reliability survey, so while it’s not disgraced, neither is it noteworthy.

However, on an individual level, the 1 Series did better; with just 16 faults per 100 vehicles, it finished third in the class.

Should you need to call on the warranty, it's the same three-year cover that most premium brands offer, but at least on BMWs the mileage is unlimited.

BMW 1 Series hatchback safety and security

Euro NCAP is always making its crash tests more stringent, so even though the 1 Series' score of five stars sounds great, it was back in 2012 so bares no real comparison with a car tested in the past couple of years.

There are six airbags and tyre pressure monitoring on all models, while run-flat tyres are included on many versions. However, the 1 Series doesn’t get automatic emergency braking or lane-keeping assistance as standard; these are part of the relatively inexpensive Driver Assistant Pack. Traffic sign recognition is also an option, but blindspot warning is unavailable.

Security body Thatcham Research rates the 1 Series highly for being difficult to break into or steal from.

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Verdict

Comfy and cheap to run, but it could do with more space

  • Good performance
  • Low company car costs
  • Best infotainment system in the class
  • Some rivals are more spacious
  • List prices are comparatively high
  • Equipment is a bit stingy on high-end trims
There are 8 trims available for the 1 Series hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
SE
Gets the essentials, including air-con, 16in alloy wheels, a 6.5in colour screen, sat-nav, Bluetooth and audio streaming, digital radio, a multi-function steering wheel, auto lights and wipers and...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£20,787
Average Saving £1,663
View Trim
SE Business
Adds LED headlights, cruise control and rear parking sensors to SE. Only available with the entry-level 116d, though...View trim
Fuel Petrol, Diesel
What Car? Target Price from
£20,879
Average Saving £1,671
View Trim
Sport
Largely designed to enhance the exterior appearance, Sport models come with 17in alloy wheels, sports seats with a greater range of adjustment, changeable ambient lighting in the interior and a bes...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£21,709
Average Saving £1,741
View Trim
M Sport
This has standard LED headlights, climate control, 18in alloy wheels, lowered, firmer suspension and an aerodynamic bodykit that is designed to make the car look meaner. It’s a lot of money, though...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£23,278
Average Saving £1,872
View Trim
M Sport Shadow Edition
Adds a few more extras including privacy glass, cruise control, rear parking sensors and a Harman Kardon stereo to the regular M Sport trim...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£25,030
Average Saving £2,020
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M140i
Like all 1 Series, the M140i comes with a 6.5in infotainment screen with sat-nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio and auto wipers and headlights. You also get 18in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, lea...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£32,864
Average Saving £2,376
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M140i Shadow Edition
The most obvious changes over the regular M140i include dark grey wheels, a black framed grille, dark headlight surrounds and tinted rear lights. More useful are the rear parking sensors, cruise co...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£34,106
Average Saving £2,469
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M140i Championship Edition
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£37,685
Average Saving £2,715
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