In-depth reviews

BMW 1 Series review - Interior, design and technology

The latest BMW 1 Series feels modern, high-quality and comes loaded with impressive technology

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£25,365 to £39,730

The BMW 1 Series has been redesigned from the ground up, using an up-to-date platform that prioritises interior space and packaging. Front-wheel drive and a switch to transversely mounted engines mean there’s more space in the interior for passengers and their luggage.

The new layout has also dictated a new look for the latest car; there’s a shorter bonnet and less space between the front wheels and doors. BMW’s trademark kidney grille sits proudly on the nose, while the whole design has been geared towards making the car look squat and purposeful. Panel gaps are small and paint quality is good – the 1 Series is a car that looks expensive.

That theme carries on inside, where the 1 Series benefits from an interior that follows the larger 3 Series closely in terms of design, fit and finish. It’s arguably not as exciting to look at as the Mercedes’ interior but overall quality is more than up to scratch and serves to help make the 1 Series feel like a premium product.

SE cars get cloth upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, automatic LED headlights and BMW’s Connected Package Plus with concierge and remote services support. The step to Sport trim adds dual-zone climate control, exterior styling tweaks and sports seats trimmed in cloth and Sensatec faux leather.

M Sport trim is likely to account for plenty of 1 Series sales, bringing desirable upgrades like leather upholstery, heated sports seats, M Sport suspension and a short-shift gearbox (on manual cars), along with the usual smattering of vents, larger alloys and a sporty single-exit exhaust. BMW also offers a range of M Performance accessories, including carbon fibre trim, spoilers, splitters and other aerodynamic additions. An Alcantara steering wheel is also offered.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

There used to be two infotainment systems available across the BMW 1 Series range, although the higher-spec 10.25-inch display that’s capable of taking on the MBUX setup found in the Mercedes A Class, has now been included as standard equipment across the SE, Sport and M Sport model line-up.

Previously, the regular infotainment set-up consisted of a central 8.8-inch display using BMW Operating System 6.0 and controlled via a touch-sensitive iDrive controller on the centre console, while the larger screen was an upgrade. The same goes for BMW’s Live Cockpit Professional digital dashboard display, which was formerly a £1,000 option but now features as standard across the line-up.

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    118i [136] SE 5dr [Live Cockpit Professional]
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £25,365

Most Economical

  • Name
    116d SE 5dr [Live Cockpit Professional]
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £26,510

Fastest

  • Name
    M135i xDrive 5dr Step Auto [Tech Pack]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £38,230

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