BMW 1 Series Hatchback 2004-2007

BMW 1 Series Hatchback 2004-2007

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016


  • Is an excellent driver's car
  • Diesel engines offer excellent pace and economy


  • Cabin and boot space is limited
  • Styling may not be to everyone's tastes


The BMW 1-Series is may not be the best looking BMW with its long bonnet and big rounded rear end, but it is an excellent car to drive offering the same quality of bigger BMW's. The interior isn't as spacious as that big rear end would have you believe with it only sitting four adults with any sort of comfort rather than five and the boot isn't very spacious either, but you're not going to be buying the 1-Series for its practical side. There is also a good range of engines available with the diesels offering superb power and fuel efficiency whilst the top of the range 130i petrol will blow you away with its sheer speed and comes with a superb roar when pushed hard

Exterior and Interior

You would have to be a true BMW fan to think the Series-1 is a good looking car with its long bonnet and rounded rear end. It was originally released as a five-door hatch, but it was joined by a three-door model in 2007. The five-door model adds more practicality and is easier to live with if it is used as a family car. Inside the back seats aren't big enough for three adults to sit comfortably so it's better to think of it as a four seater, it also lacks head and legroom department. The boot isn't especially large with the suspension eating into valuable space, but the back seats do split and fold flat to increase it somewhat. The interior does feel very well constricted though and the central console is clutter free thanks to BMW's optional iDrive system which controls things such as sat-nav, air-con and the stereo. The three-door model also has a smaller rear view window than the five-door reducing rear visibility. When it comes to choosing a trim level the M Sport is a good choice as it provides you with everything you are likely to want including air-con, CD stereo, alloys, electric windows, parking sensors, a service indicator and traction control. If you are looking for a few extra luxuries then the M Sport LE should offer you everything you are likely to need.

Performance and Economy

The entry level 116i with the original 115bhp didn't really do the car justice, but thankfully the newer 122bhp unit does a better job being both quicker going from 0-60mph (9.8 seconds) and returning an impressive economy level of 48mpg. The 118i is good but the 120i is better with almost identical fuel efficiency at around 37mpg, but is quicker at 8.4 seconds from 0-60mph. The range topping 130i with its 261bhp is immense going from 0-60mph in just 5.9 seconds and provides you with a wonderful howl as you try to match that time yourself. It is surprisingly economical for a car this quick too achieving 34mpg. The diesel engines offer superb all round performance blending both pace and economy seamlessly. The entry level 116d that was introduced in 2009 isn't that slow at 9.9 seconds from 0-60mph despite only having 115bhp but also achieves an impressive 64mpg. The 118d is quicker at 8.6 seconds and isn't far behind efficiency wise managing 42mpg. The 120d is an excellent all rounder though achieving 58mpg and goes from 0-60mph in 7.3. If it is speed you're after then the 123d should satisfy most going from a standing start to 60mph in just 7.0 seconds and still keeps the fuel efficiency fairly high at 55mpg. For insurance purposes the entry level engines fall into group 10 with the top of the rage 130i falling into group 17.

Like to Drive

The 1-Series is just as good on the road as any of the larger BMW's feeling well balanced and precise in the corners with excellent body control and sharp well weighted steering. The suspension is superb making even the roughest of roads feel smooth and it provides plenty of grip even in the worst weathers conditions. The 130i comes with optional Active steering which lightens the steering at lower speeds and gives it more weight and feel at higher speeds making the driving experience even better. The driving position is perfect with good all round views and more than enough adjustments in both the driver's seat and steering wheel allowing you to find a comfortable driving position.

Faults and Repairs

The 1-Series has only had one recall over its life due concerns over the connections on the rear axle control arm working themselves loose. Other than that there have been few other problems but make sure to check everything thoroughly especially the 130i as it is the model most likely to have been pushed hard. Servicing costs should be cheaper than for the Audi A3 as should the majority of repairs but independent garages do tend to charge more than other up market rivals.