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...

New BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class

Our verdict

The new BMW 118d is, on balance, the better car to drive. It’s a little behind on pace, but not by enough to mark it down heavily, and its handling is much livelier when you’re looking to have fun. Sure, the ride is firmer if you go for M Sport trim, but it’s still measured and relatively comfortable most of the time. And because it’s quieter over bumps and less jerky to drive in traffic, it’s the more polished car overall.

But in the areas where the Mercedes-Benz A200d falls behind, it never does so by much, and it has clear strengths of its own. These include ride comfort and practicality, not to mention costs. At the moment, it’s much cheaper to buy, regardless of how you pay for it, and – crucially, considering these two are firm favourites with company car drivers – will cost you noticeably less in benefit-in-kind tax. It finishes second, but not by much.

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1st – BMW 1 Series - 4 stars 

BMW 1 Series rear

For Agile handling; well-controlled ride; smart interior; great driving position; excellent infotainment system

Against Smaller boot; more expensive to buy and run; lower Euro NCAP scores

Recommended options 40/20/40 split rear seats (£150), lumbar adjustment (£150)

Read our full BMW 1 Series review >

Find a great BMW 1 Series deal >

2nd - Mercedes A-Class - 4 stars 

Mercedes A-Class rear

For Excellent safety rating; cheaper as a company car; reasonable PCP finance costs; better economy; stronger engine  

Against Jerky gearbox in traffic; poor reliability rating; generally a bit noisier

Recommended options Executive Pack (£1395), Advanced Smartphone Pack (£495)

Read our full Mercedes A-Class review >

Find a great Mercedes A-Class deal >

Specifications: BMW 1 Series 118d M Sport auto

  • Engine 4cyl, 1995cc, diesel 
  • List price £31,040
  • Target price £29,242
  • Power 148bhp @ 4000rpm 
  • Torque 258lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm 
  • Gearbox 8-spd dual-clutch automatic
  • 0-60mph 8.2sec
  • Top speed 135mph
  • Official fuel economy 55.4mpg (WLTP)
  • Test MPG 49.2mpg 
  • CO2 emissions 109%/km

Specifications: Mercedes A-Class A200d AMG Line

  • Engine 4cyl, 1950cc, diesel
  • List price £30,385
  • Target price £28,033
  • Power 148bhp @ 3400rpm 
  • Torque 236lb ft @ 1400-3200rpm 
  • Gearbox 8-spd dual-clutch automatic
  • 0-60mph 7.8sec
  • Top speed 137mph
  • Official fuel economy 56.5mpg (WLTP)
  • Test MPG 52.3mpg
  • CO2 emissions 110g/km

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