BMW 1 Series 2019 review

Chronicle Live 1 month ago

Since the release of its second generation back in 2020, the BMW 1 Series has gone from strength to strength – selling more than 220,000 units of the model. 

The hatchback is known to be a very important car for BMW with it being such a popular choice for families looking for a relatively decent sized practical hatchback.

In previous generations, the BMW 1 Series was the only car in its class to be rear-wheel-drive… until now! For the first time, the 1 Series has now become available in front-wheel-drive. Set to go on sale in September, we couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel to see what the 188d can really do when put through its paces.


The 1 Series is currently available with two petrols and three diesels, our test car was the 118d which featured a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine. Its seven-speed automatic gearbox helps send drive to the front of the wheels.

Offering 148bhp with 350Nm of torque helps the 1 Series get to 0-60mph in 8.2 seconds, while reaching a top speed of 135mph.

Predictions show the 118i will be the best-seller from the range, BMW claim this trim will make up 40 percent of sales.

Ride & Handling

Its predecessor was known to be one of the best small hatchbacks for handling compared to strong rivals thanks to its rear-wheel-drive setup, as the front wheels would only come in to play when tackling corners and not driving the engine. 

Although the change in drive, the new model continues to impress. There may be a little bit of understeer when you really push the car but overall there is a good amount of grip. The 1 Series is a great car for everyday use- being refined and civilised helps it feel very sophisticated from the driving seat.

Interior & Equipment

Due to the switch in drivetrain on the new 1 Series, this has helped improve space in the cabin compared to the previous model. As with all BMW interiors quality is of a top standard, soft-touch plastics around the cabin really help make it remain one of the best in its class. Although the sloped roof line does reduce head room which could affect taller passengers in the back, but overall the leg and knee room is excellent which is what you would expect from a small family hatchback.

Space in the boot has also improved, by 20 litres to be exact. With 320 litres with the seats up, which increases to 1,200 litres with the seats folded down. The new 1 Series has no plans to bring a three-door option in the market and will remain in five-door form, something we are noticing is a lot more common with new and updated small hatchbacks.

The 1 Series is a car for the tech fans, BMW have packed the hatchback with almost everything from the popular 3 Series and even elements from the range-topping 8 Series. A full digital cockpit display is on offer alongside a head display with gesture control which can allow drivers to use simple hand gestures to perform various actions – for a small affordable family hatchback, these features are very impressive.

Starting from the entry level SE, there are Sport and M Sport options available with the fastest top of the range being the M135i.


The BMW 1 Series starts from £24,439 for the SE entry level petrol model, while diesel variants bumps that up to £25,480. Comparing this figure to strong rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Audi A3, the 1 Series is the best value from the three considering both rivals start at over £25,000

The car we drove was the 118d which is priced at £26,640, increasing to £32,470 for the 120d.  While opting for the top performing M135i would set you back £36,430.

For the 118i, fuel economy is okay, set at around 56.5mpg and 114h/km. Although we would recommend the 116d to be the most frugal, managing 74.3mpg and emissions as low as 100g/km.


When BMW announced the hatchback would no longer offer rear-wheel-drive , there was a bit of concern on people’s minds. Although when we factor in the increase in interior as well as boot space, it was the right move for the 1 Series. Practicality is crucial with a small family hatchback and although it might not be as supporting to drive as its predecessor, it is exactly where it needs to be with it being a lot more advanced over rivals.


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