New BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class

BMW has made a radical change for the new 1 Series, now sending power to its front wheels to help fix its major flaw: practicality. And yet we’re told this doesn’t make it any less sporty to driv...

BMW 1 Series driving

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

Until now, these cars have been fairly evenly matched, with the 118d just nosing ahead more often than not. Not here, though. It’s pricier if you’re a private buyer, even after discounts, and you can kiss goodbye to a further £2000 in depreciation after three years. 

It’s a similar story for anyone looking to pay monthly over that period. The 118d costs around £38 per month more to lease and is nearly £100 per month more in our PCP example (assuming a £3000 deposit and 10,000 miles per year). That said, BMW is offering competitive finance deals on some of its other 1 Series variants. Both test cars did well in our fuel economy test, but the A200d eked out 3.1mpg more.

Mercedes A-Class driving

Company car drivers will also pay more for the 118d. The A200d meets the latest RDE2 emissions standards, you see, so it doesn’t incur the usual 4% diesel surcharge on your benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax. The 118d isn’t RDE2-compliant yet (it will be from next April), so right now it will cost a 40% taxpayer around £1300 more in BIK bills over three years. 

Both cars get a decent tally of kit, including climate control, leather seats (faux leather/faux suede in the A200d) and 18in alloy wheels. The 118d tops those with heated front seats and power-folding door mirrors, while the A200d throws in tinted rear windows. As we’ve mentioned, you can add options more easily to the 118d, instead of having to add pricey packs to get what you want (along with things you might not) on the A200d. 

Both cars come with automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance as standard, to which the 118d adds traffic sign recognition. The A200d has a better Euro NCAP safety rating, though, with higher category scores thanks to better whiplash, chest and pedestrian protection.

Unfortunately, neither BMW nor Mercedes did very well in our 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, ranking 21st and 24th respectively out of 31 manufacturers. 

Also consider