BMW 1 Series Coupe review
The 1 Series Coupe has great engines, but the rest doesn’t hit the same heights.
Driving The way the Coupe goes and slows is simply exceptional. The 135i gets a remarkable twin-turbo petrol engine, that blasts it to 60mph in only 5.1 seconds. That’s in the same league as an Aston Martin V8 Vantage! But the two diesels are brilliant too, particularly the twin-turbo 123d. This 2.0-litre four-cylinder has 204bhp and hits 60mph in just 7.0 seconds – and is one of the best diesels we’ve ever driven. Even the single-turbo 120d is impressive, and all 1-Series Coupes are backed up by excellent brakes. It’s a pity the chassis isn’t up to the same standard. It’s well balanced and wieldy to drive, but the suspension isn’t that supple. The BMW gets pitched around, so the steering requires constant correction, which limits your confidence in the car. It doesn’t truly come alive – instead, it feels slightly numb and disinterested.
Marketplace The 1-Series Coupe is a development of the three- and five-door hatchback variants. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, few would argue that the two-door 1-Series Coupe appears ungainly. It has little sense of individuality or excitement. It certainly doesn’t turn heads like an Audi TT does. It is claimed to be a full four-seater though, which admittedly places it in between stylish coupes and top-end hatches; competitors also include the Audi A3, VW Golf R32, Volvo C30 and Mercedes C-Class Sports Coupe. There are three trim levels – ES, SE and M Sport – coupled, for the moment, with three engines. The 2.0-litre diesel comes in two states of tune, and there’s also a 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol. A 2.5-litre six-cylinder petrol will follow.
Owning The Coupe tries to retain as much of the hatch’s practicality as possible. The back seats offer enough space for adults, and the boot is actually 40 litres bigger than the hatch; it’s 370-litre capacity is bigger than a VW Golf, too! Inside, the driving position is superb, and the seats are good too. The dashboard is also better built than early 1-Series hatches, with higher-quality materials. Unfortunately, the cockpit isn’t that well laid out or attractive; it should be a more exciting place to be. However, running costs should be low, with well-managed residuals, BMW’s excellent-value Service Inclusive scheme, plus the unarguable economy benefits of the company’s EfficientDynamics technology. The 120d officially averages 58.9mpg, while even the 204bhp version is claimed to return over 54mpg – both exceptional statistics.