There’s one car that makes an appearance more than any other in the world of premium hatchbacks and that’s the BMW 1 Series. Not only does it feature that all important premium badge but it’s also become one of BMW’s most popular models ever. However, there are now a lot of competitors in the market and so the big question is, can the 1 Series still cut itself above the rest?
The exterior of the 1 Series exhibits all of the BMW design traits you’d expect. So, you’ll find the iconic kidney grille standing loud and proud out front while the body-panel design is a gentle evolution on the original 1 Series’ quirky looks. Let’s make no mistake the 1 Series is a car that tends to stand out.
As you’d expect with a BMW, the interior within the 1 Series feels solid and built to last. However, it has to be said that it does lack a little bit of excitement that you can find in some of its rivals. Ok, you do get some nice sliver and chrome accents here and there but overall it just feels like a rather dark place to be. Saying this, the infotainment system provided in this car is one of the best on the market and really easy to use. The 1 Series has a reasonably large boot for a car of this size. You’re provided with 360 litres of space with the rear seats in place but fold the rear seats down and you’ll get an impressive 1,200 litres to put your luggage in.
Nowadays, most BMW cars do trade on their sporty driving characteristics and in some cases this is a similar story with the 1 Series. So, you can expect really nicely weighted steering meaning that you can accurately place the car on the road and the throttle response is pretty decent too. One thing we won’t flag up though is that the car we’re looking at for this article, the turbocharged 120 D, sits on M Sport suspension. Why would you pick the M Sport package? Well, primarily because it looks pretty cool with its bigger alloy wheels and revised front end. However, because you get sports suspension as part of the package it does tend to make the ride quite crashy and that’s not really what you want from a premium hatchback. What you do want is for it to be comfortable and smooth at all times and this setup just isn’t. You can opt to remove the sports suspension and we would recommend it as it really does transform the way this car drives and for the better.
The 120 D uses the tried and tested 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox and it’s a really nice thing to use. You can activate it using the paddles behind the steering wheel but in reality you’re probably just going to leave it to its own devices as it’s really good at its job.
The 1 Series does do particularly well out on the motorway where it feels refined, comfortable and has just about enough punch for all situations. The one thing we would say is that because of the larger alloys fitted to the M Sport you’ll find that there’s quite a bit more tyre noise generated and this is particularly noticeable when you’re travelling on the motorway. Therefore, if you’re doing a lot of long journeys then you may want to look at specifying a smaller wheel.
The 1 Series is available with a range of petrol and diesel engines. You’re starting point is a 1.5 litre engine in the 116 D through to a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine in the range topping M140i. You’ll find a 2.0 litre turbocharged diesel engine under the bonnet of the 120 D. So, you should be able to reach 60 mph (miles per hour) in around about 7 seconds. This is more than enough for everyday driving and means that you’re never really short of power when it comes to any driving situation. BMW claim that you should get over 50 mpg (miles per gallon) on the combined cycle but we think that this might be a little bit of an over-estimate. During daily driving on the motorway and around country roads you’re more likely to get around 44 mpg. You’ll certainly improve on this figure if you’re doing longer journeys but this is a little disappointing considering the manufacturer’s claims.
In conclusion, the BMW 1 Series may command a premium price tag but it does actually feel every bit worth that. It’s good to look at outside and the inside feels robust and well built. With a range of petrol and diesel engines to choose from there really is something for everyone. It’s because of these traits that the BMW 1 Series has become so popular and why you should consider it if you’re in the market for a premium hatchback. If you feel that this may be the right car for you then check out the used BMW 1 Series cars for sale we have on DesperateSeller.co.uk. Other cars it this class worth considering are the Audi A3, Mercedes Benz A Class and Volkswagen Golf.