BMW 1 Series Script

In the world of premium hatchbacks, there’s one name frequently banded about, and that’s the BMW 1 Series. With that all-important badge as well as a variety of strong petrol and diesel engines, it’s become one of the brand’s most popular models. However, with the competition fiercer than ever, can it still tick all the boxes? Let’s find out.


The exterior of the 1 Series exhibits all of the trademark BMW design traits you’d expect. That’s why you’ll find those iconic kidney grilles loud and proud out front, while the body panel design is a gentle evolution on the original 1 Series’ quirky looks. Particularly in this burnt orange test colour, the 1 Series definitely stands out.


The 1 Series is available with a range of petrol and diesel engine, going from a 1.5—litre petrol in the 116d all the way to the turbocharged six-cylinder in the range-topping M140i. We’ve got one of the most popular models with us today, however – the 120d. It uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel sending drive to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.


Most BMW cars do trade on their sporty driving characteristics, and in some cases that is the way with 1 Series. You get really nicely weighted steering, which means you can accurately place the car and the throttle response in this 120d is pretty good for a diesel turbocharged engine.

Now one thing we would flag up is that this car sits on M-Sport suspension. Now why would you pick the M-Sport package? Primarily because it looks pretty cool, you get bigger alloy wheels and a revised front end. But because you get sports suspension fitted as part of that package, it does tend to make that car quite ‘crashy’ and that’s not necessarily what you want from a premium hatchback.

You can have it removed at no extra cost, which is something we’d really recommend.

Now this BMW uses the tried and tested ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox and it’s really good. You can activate it via the paddles behind the steering wheel, but you’re going to leave it to its own devices – and it’s great at just that.

One thing we would add is that because of the larger alloy wheels fitted to this M-Sport car there is a little more tyre roar.

Now the 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine underneath the bonnet of this 120d means you should hit 60mph in around seven seconds. It’s more than enough for daily driving.

BMW claims that you should get over 50mpg on the combined cycle, and we think that may be a little bit of an overestimate, as during our time with the car we’ve been getting around 44mpg.


The interior of the 1 Series feels well put together and built to last, if a little lacking in excitement. Yes, you do get some chrome accents to help brighten things up, but the overall it feels like quite a dark place to be. That said, all of the controls are simple to use, while the rotary-controlled iDrive is one of the easiest in the segment to use.


The 1 Series has a reasonably large boot as standard at 360 litres with the rear seats in place. Fold them down, however, and you’ll get an impressive 1,200 litres to play with which isn’t half bad for a car of this size.


The BMW 1 Series may command a premium price tag, but it feels every bit worth that. It’s good to look at inside, and it feels robust and well built. Outside, I think it looks pretty good too. With a range of petrol and diesel engines available, there’s something for everyone. It’s little wonder why the BMW 1 Series has become so popular and it’s why you should consider the BMW 1 Series when you’re looking for a new premium hatchback.