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Used test: BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes A-Class verdict

Buy either of these desirable family cars at three years old and you'll save more than £10,000, but which is the better option?...

1 Series long-termer London tracking

Our verdict

It doesn't take a genius to see that the Mercedes A-Class has been built to swoon, particularly with its chic interior and comfortable ride. It's a charming car, for the most part. Where it's let down is questionable reliability and refinement that just lacks that last coat of polish – the kind you'd expect from such a prestigious brand. 

The BMW 1 Series is quieter and less jerky in traffic, not to mention that, while a fraction behind on pace, it's much livelier to drive. In other words – rejoice! It ditched rear-wheel drive but retained a sense of fun. By a small but noteworthy margin, it's a better executed family car, and so the 1 Series wins this test. 

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1st – BMW 1 Series 118d M Sport auto

BMW 1 Series driving

    For Agile handling; well-controlled ride; smart interior; great driving position; excellent infotainment system
    Against Smaller boot; lower Euro NCAP scores

    What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

    Read our full used BMW 1 Series review >> 

    Find a used BMW 1 Series for sale >>

    2nd - Mercedes A-Class A200d AMG Line

    Mercedes A-Class driving

    For Excellent safety rating; better economy; stronger engine
    Against Jerky gearbox in traffic; poor reliability rating; generally a bit noisier

    What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

    Read our full used Mercedes A-Class review >>

    Find a used Mercedes A-Class for sale >>

    Specifications: BMW 1 Series 118d M Sport auto

    Engine 4cyl, 1995cc, diesel 
    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
    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