BMW 1 Series - Used

Car Review

BMW 1 Series, front static
BMW 1 Series, side action 2
BMW 1 Series, side action
BMW 1 Series, rear static
BMW 1 Series, interior, auto
BMW 1 Series, interior, manual

THE BMW 1 Series is about the size of a Ford Focus and is the cheapest way to own one of the German marque's cars.

It's the only rear wheel drive small hatchback on the market and manages to retain all the verve and fun of the 3-series it's based on.

There are coupe and cabriolet versions but here I'm going to concentrate on the much bigger selling three and five door hatch.

Even the lowest powered petrol model built between 2011 and 2019, the 100bhp 1.6 petrol, offers plenty of fun and other petrol engines in the range just get quicker and quicker.

But bear in mind that rear headroom and legroom are pretty limited compared to most other cars of a similar size and the boot is also fairly small.

There are 16 different trim levels and only some engines available with each, so make sure to get the one you want. And because there are so many engine variations over the model's lifetime I will give the figures for the main ones only.

That 1.6i petrol started out as a 1.8 and was latterly a 2.0-litre, with between 100 and 134bhp. It was then replaced by a new 1.5-litre unit borrowed from MINI.

Higher up the range is a 2.0-litre with 180 to 220bhp and a 3.0-litre with between 321 and 335bhp.

The original 1.6i covers the 60 miles an hour sprint in 10.8 seconds and has best economy of 40mpg.

The 134bhp 2.0-litre gets to 60mph in 8.2 seconds and could average 35 miles per gallon, while the 135i with 335bhp storms to 60 in 4.9 seconds and but is only likely to do 27mpg.

BMW's diesels are excellent as well of course, although the purity of the driving experience is not quite up to the same mark.

Diesel models started with a 1.6 designated 114d that had 93bhp and then came a 114bhp version of the same engine. These were superceded by a 1.5 unit with 114bhp. There is also a 2.0-litre with between 114 and 220bhp.

The 116d with 114bhp is rated at no less than 74mpg and does 0 to 60mph in 10.2 seconds, while the 187bhp 2.0-litre has a government figure of 60mpg and only takes seven seconds for the sprint.

The handling is brilliant in all models and the road holding absolutely superb. Make no mistake, this is a fantastic drivers' car but in a smaller package, with all the tremendous balance and verve of the company's larger models.

One word of warning though. Most models have an excellent ride as well as superb handling, but the ‘M' and M-Performance models have stiffer suspension and this does affect the comfort adversely.

The 1 Series is so sought after that prices remain high secondhand but again if you have to go for a year older car to get what you want and you make sure you only consider those with full service history, good reliability means you‘ll be unlikely to have any problems.

This model had a superb dash, top quality trim and a host of lovely design details that make the interior feel very up market.

The driving environment, despite everything being rather sombre black in most, is excellent, with very good supportive seats and everything perfectly to hand.

Most secondhand models will have added spec from the original owner, so equipment should be excellent.

Base ES gets aircon, start stop, alarm and traction control, along with folding rear seats, excellent seat adjustment and the usual electric windows and mirrors and remote locking.

If you're thinking of buying a diesel, which will be more expensive secondhand, remember that it can take a few years to break even over petrol models these days.

Pay about £7,550 for a '14 14-reg 116i Sport five door, or £11,450 for a '17 17-reg 116d SE five door.

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