The BMW 1 Series is competing in a tough segment but it's a small executive hatchback with a lot to offer with great handling, strong engines and low running costs. It's also the cheapest BMW on offer.
Being a BMW, the 1 Series has a good choice of engines including a frugal 1.5 litre diesel unit as well as startling performance in the 3.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine.
The entry-level 1 Series is the 118i which has a 1.6 litre petrol unit producing 134 bhp; it is a good performer around town. Other engine choices include a 2.0 litre unit and a twin-turbocharged 3.0 litre unit producing 335 bhp. There's also a 1.5 litre three-cylinder diesel engine producing 115 bhp, while other diesel models consist of various power outputs for the 2.0 litre four-cylinder diesel engines. Economy for the BMW 1 Series range from 52 mpg for the 118i petrol engine to 78 mpg for the three-cylinder diesel engine.
As with all of its siblings, the BMW 1 Series has rear wheel drive which means it's better at cornering than its many rivals though the boot is smaller as a consequence. However, the interior has been well-designed and well-built and though the kit list is shorter than for the Ford Focus, for instance, there is still enough to tempt owners. Standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, keyless start, 16in alloy wheels, automatic wipers and headlights and DAB radio. There's also an extensive options list as well to help personalise the 1 Series.
The current model has been facelifted and it's a great car to drive, it has all of BMW's famous attributes and it's particularly good for long motorway journeys. Indeed, the refresh introduced a more charismatic styling with larger headlights and with slightly flared wheel arches it looks sportier than most of its hatchback arrivals. The driving position is also very comfortable; there is a myriad of adjustments for the driver's seat so all owners can get comfortable easily. The new model is also more practical than the car it replaces and there's more room for occupants in the cabin and a larger boot as well.
Essentially, the BMW 1 Series offers a great way for potential owners to buy a great car that doesn't carry the BMW badge premium; while it's more expensive than many of its rivals there’s still a lot to recommend it. The engines are particularly good to help deliver an impressive all-round vehicle.
Why not have a look at the BMW 1 Series on the BMW UK company website and get the latest news about the 2 Series at The BMW Owners' club. You may also like to see what they're saying about the 2 Series on the Top Gear website.
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If you are interested in the best 1 Series lease specials, you may also be interested in our great deals and options on these cars:
Audi A3, Lexus CT, Mini Clubman, Mini Paceman, Volkswagen Golf