BMW 1 Series Hatchback review
The 1-Series soft-top is a well-rounded motor that is good to drive.
Driving The 1-Series Convertible has 100kg of extra stiffening over the Coupe, and this has the desired effect. There is barely a trace of shake or shudder, and when you do hit a pothole, the vibrations are absorbed quickly. It feels very together on the road, so although the suspension is firm, it remains comfortable. Keen drivers will find it is nearly as much fun as the Coupe, too. The 50:50 weight distribution means the BMW feels very well balanced – turn into a corner, and the nose grips hard, slicing through corners. Sharp steering and strong brakes also inspire confidence. We also love the BMW’s engines, particularly the 3.0-litre 125i. It sounds great and has immediate throttle response, and is rapid despite a mid-range that lacks meat. The robust gearshift impresses too, even if the long-travel clutch takes some getting used to.
Marketplace The 1-Series Convertible may be an entry-level model, designed to fill the gap now the open-top 3-Series has gained a costlier folding hard-top roof, but it’s not as small as you’d think. It is bigger than the original 3-Series drop-top! It is well proportioned though, even if we’re not entirely convinced by near-vertical sculpted sides, giving a vague resemblance to a bathtub. But overall we feel that BMW has done a good job. The rear-drive four-seater offers a wide range of engines – 118i, 120i, 125i, 135i and the 120d – and comes in ES, SE or M Sport trim. Rivals include the Audi A3 Cabriolet, Volvo C70, Volkswagen Eos and Ford Focus CC.
Owning Cabin materials have a shiny finish, but the low seat and high sides create a sense of security – though the roof layout means not much light enters the cabin with it up. The driver’s seat is comfortable and supportive, but rear passengers aren’t as well catered for. Legroom isn’t great and the narrow seats result in an uncomfortably twisted body position. A 260-litre boot is pretty good, and although the seats don’t fold, the compartment the roof stows into can be raised if you keep the hood up, which adds another 45 litres. The roof stows neatly, leaving a clean shape, but it takes a lengthy 22 seconds to open – luckily, it can be operated at up to 31mph. Residual values are very good – it will retain up to 10 per cent more than the coupe and hatch – and the smaller petrol and diesel engines should prove fuel-efficient.