BMW has taken heed to critics of the 1 Series, who grumbled that the looks were challenging and the engine range spiralling. Solution? Its biggest facelift ever, introducing a far sharper nose, a much nicer rear end and some stonking new engines that further its performance and eco credentials over rivals. The BMW 1 Series has never been better.
It still comes in three-door and five-door guise, with badges aligned to the BMW 2 Series (so they bear little relation to engine capacity…) and BMW’s simplified the trim line-up. The old one was a top 10 best-seller regular. BMW’s aiming for more of the same with this.
The 1 Series is available in three and five-door configurations, but thanks to the rear-wheel-drive packaging none are especially roomy in the back compared to more mainstream hatchback rivals like the Ford Focus or SEAT Leon. However, a choice of auto and manual gearboxes adds to the BMW’s desirability, as do its coupe and convertible sister cars – although these are known as the 2 Series models.
Given its decent finance options, and strong image, it's no surprise that the BMW 1 Series has proven to be such a success. We love the way it drives, and that despute its ubiquity, it's still very much an individual choice in a very crowded market sector.
Practicality and family-friendly flexibility tend to dominate buyers’ choices in the small family car class, but the BMW 1 Series Sports Hatch is a much more individual proposition: it’s a driver’s car with a degree of functionality built-in. That means you do need to consider your priorities carefully before ordering one.
A Volkswagen Golf also comes with more kit as standard, but the BMW 1 Series’ equipment is still decent, including 16-inch alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch colour infotainment screen, DAB digital radio, keyless start, as well as automatic headlights and wipers. There’s a long and expensive options list to get carried away with should you want to, though.
All told, the BMW 1 Series is a strong choice, and a noticeable improvement over its predecessor. There’s more interior and boot space than before, it’s slightly better to drive, it’s comfier and the overall build quality is now on par with what you’d expect from a BMW.
However, the 1 Series still isn’t quite as practical as some of its best hatchbacks, and it is relatively expensive to buy. It’s not the all-out best small family hatch on the market, then, but it’s a very talented and capable all-rounder, and certainly worth investigating if you value driving above anything else.
In terms of equipment, even the stingiest BMW 1 Series models include alloy wheels, electric windows, climate control, auto lights and wipers, DAB, Bluetooth and BMW's iDrive interface, plus the Driving Experience Control switch that alters the car's settings.
It might be getting on a bit relative to its rivals, but the BMW 1 Series remains highly relevant in the class simply because it’s an excellent car in many respects. A range of turbocharged engines was drafted into the facelifted range in 2015 to keep it efficient and feeling modern, while the equipment levels are reasonably generous even on base cars. Like most rear-wheel-drive BMWs, it drives beautifully. It has a plush interior, too, but bear in mind that its very defining feature – rear-wheel drive – does lead to some packaging compromises, and so the BMW isn't as spacious as an Audi A3. However, if you like the BMW’s distinctive looks, then there’s every chance you’d still pick the 1 Series over many of its younger rivals.
Even though the costs may be a bit steep for some, you should consider the amount of equipment you get as standard in the 1 Series M Sport and then you’ll see that it’s worth the somewhat steep tag. It continues to be one the best premium hatchbacks to drive and the quality finish is pleasing on the eye and to the touch. If the cost is a bit too high for you, used options provide as good an overall result before the third generation arrives next year.
The 1 Series’ decent equipment, entertaining handling and sporty styling will be what attracts buyers to the car, and it’s certainly worth a look, especially as it has some very economical engines and very low running costs. However, it’s not without its shortcomings, particularly in terms of its ride comfort, practicality and cabin quality. Our favourite premium hatch remains the Audi A3, which is a fine drive in its own right, but crucially, it’s more comfortable, classier inside and – in the Sportback body style – more practical.
"The BMW 1 Series is one of the best small family cars. It’s desirable, good to drive and surprisingly cheap to run."
Excellent car. Very reliable and economical, It has plenty of torque and smooth ride for long trips. Rear leg room is a bit tight. My car has been driven over 180K and I had to clean the intake manifold and replace the DPF. Use after market as BMW charges $3 to 4K for a replacement. Ali Express and eBay has many vendors of people selling DPF's. I have had the car regularly serviced and it has been very reliable. City economy is around 6.5 to 7.5 L/100.
Highway at 110 kmh is around 5.2 to 5.6 L/100 depending on road surface, winds and rain.
Love this car the luxury combined with performance. It is disel powered engine gives you plenty of torque and acceleration. Service is reasonable for this car. I had troublefree motoring for the past 5 years. The engine gives you plenty of grounds handling is just amazing. The quality of leather, the touch of class. You just feel you are driving a much more expensive car. Totally recommended.
I’ve bought my125i back in 2014 with 30000+km on the clock. BM came chip tuned and with varex exhaust - this was worried me at the beginning. It have currently 150000km on the clock and have only 2 minor problems. One is the lumbar support which was not kept the air (warranty covers) and second right LED tail light lost brightness (outside of the warranty and could reported as common issues and bad design) had to replace for $300.
Original brake pads and rotors replaced with reputable aftermarket brand. Original wearing off very quickly.
I’m recommend this car and definitely will refreshing this within next couple of years. For the owners I’ll recommend to service it more frequently than it’s recommended by BMW - change oil every 10k not 20k as recommended.
I like the 1 Series a lot but I'd find any way possible to stretch the budget for the M140 over this. The 125 has always mildly disappointed me whenever I've driven it. It's not bad but it doesn't feel like it's all it could be.
"Volvo V49 T5 R-Design ($49,990 plus ORCs)"
I think someone was typing too fast.
BMW has been here in the Philippines for many years, and sure enough, they have been at-home. And, what better way to reflect that belongingness than to bestow a car that befits this country, the BMW 1 Series. The 5-door German car is what mixes both fun and practicality, and a touch of luxuriously modern German engineering to cap it off. Sexy lines, smooth, flush silhouette, high-end interior feel, and that distinctive BMW kidney-shaped grille, all combine to highlight this hot-hatch!
Available in a massive array of variants and trims, the BMW 1-Series 5-door comes equipped with a 1.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine that churns out 136 hp and 220 Nm of torque. The hatchback also comes with the xDrive System that improves driving dynamics from mild-mannered to wild and wicked at an instant. Environmentally-friendliness was never forgotten as well, thanks to its ECO-PRO Mode which lessens fuel consumption while still not compromising overall vehicle characteristics.