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Key Facts

Looking the part both inside and out, the 1 Series is BMW’s successful attempt at throwing a cat amongst the pigeons when it comes to its peers.

As it’s the only car in its class which is rear-wheel drive, the 1 Series benefits from having supreme road-holding abilities, while BMW’s superior build quality is another big draw.  Even the base model has a host of trim pieces and features that are only usually found on top-of-the-range models.

There are both three and five door versions of the 1 Series too, while you also have the option of choosing an economical or sporty model – whichever best suits your needs. Whatever you go for, expect to pay in the region of £10,000 to £17,000 on the used market.

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2004-2011
2011 onwards
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Why buy a Bmw 1 Series?

The 1 Series has smart looks and mod cons to match – even the base model is packed with features. It’s also well-made and is enjoyable to drive, so it’s far from a one-trick pony.

Although it lines up against the likes of the VW Golf, the Audi A3 and the Mercedes A-Class, the range is slightly pricier than most of its competitors. You’re getting your money’s worth, though. Especially when it’s spent on the M135i 1 Series, which is capable of hitting 0-62 in five seconds; an astounding time, especially for a hatchback. Although, there are more economical models too, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Bmw 1 Series on Finance?

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Which Bmw 1 Series is right for me?

Latest Range


Quick off the line: BMW 1 Series M Sport

Quick off the line: BMW 1 Series M Sport

The first 1 Series on the list to feature the famous M badge, which signals a more high-performance engine, you can expect to pay up to and around the £15,000 mark on the used market for the five-door variant.

Expect to achieve 0-62 in fewer than 10 seconds if you’re looking at the 1 Series 118 M Sport, while the 125i M Sport hits the same target in an astonishing 6.4 seconds.

Previous Range


For money conscious folk: BMW 1 Series SE

For money conscious folk: BMW 1 Series SE

The SE is the base model in the range, although you can still expect to pay up to the £10,000 mark, even on the used market. But, for a premium price, you do get a lot of features.

Expect to see BMW’s trip computer, as well as Bluetooth connectivity and air conditioning. On the outside, you’ll probably be getting a good-size set of alloy wheels too – a feature not always seen on the base model of other ranges.

Looking the part: BMW 1 Series Sport

Looking the part: BMW 1 Series Sport

The 1 Series Sport does what it says on the tin – it’s sportier both outside and in. Expect to see a host of additional trim pieces. And if you find the right version from this previous range (2004–2011), you could hit 60mph in less than eight seconds, according to BMW. Sporty by name, sporty by nature.

What are the Alternatives?

Reliability and respect: Volkswagen Golf

Reliability and respect: Volkswagen Golf

The Golf has been a mainstay in this area of the market ever since coming off the production line some 40 years ago. As such, it has become the blueprint for many modern hatchbacks.

Still as popular as ever, you can expect to pick up a second-hand Golf for less than a comparable 1 Series. However, the best of the bunch, the M135i, is somewhat faster than the top-of-the-range Golf R-Line.

The Golf doesn’t scrimp when it comes to features, even though it may cost less, and VW’s innovative BlueMotion technology means that you’ll find a few in the cheap A tax band.


Used Volkswagen Golf

German quality but a little cheaper: Audi A3

German quality but a little cheaper: Audi A3

BMW, Mercedes and Audi are always fighting it out to be the go-to German car manufacturer and the hatchback class is no different. You can expect to pick up a used A3 for around £7,500 upwards, while the cheapest BMW 1 Series models are often a little more.


Used Audi A3

The first-class experience: Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The first-class experience: Mercedes-Benz A-Class

As the A-Class line was only revamped recently by Mercedes, you can expect to pay slightly more in the current market. With the top-of-the-range A-Class models coming in at the £20,000 mark, you can actually buy a second-hand 1 Series Coupe rather than the three- or five-door hatchback for the same price.


Used Mercedes-Benz A-Class

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