The BMW 1 Series is now well into its second generation, but its strong sales show no sign of abating. The hatchback is unique in its sector because it’s the only model to come with rear-wheel drive – meaning it appeals much more to keen drivers than front-wheel-drive rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf.
The question you must answer when you specify your 1 Series, however, is what colour do you want? Pick the right colour and it’ll be easy to keep looking good and even easier when it comes to selling it on. Pick the wrong colour and you’ll spend every weekend cleaning it and no one will want it come resale.
BMW gives you 12 choices for colours and, unsurprisingly for a German marque, most of the choices are variants of black, grey, silver or dark blue because they sell the most. Buried among them, though, are a handful of bold shades that are either exactly what you’ve been looking for or your worst nightmare depending on your point of view. Read our full BMW 1 Series review for more details or head over to our BMW 1 Series deals page for the latest carwow offers.
These are the basic colour choices for the car and don’t add anything to the purchase price. They’ll look good but they lack the metallic reflective quality of the more expensive shades.
Alpine white (£0)
White is very much in fashion right now – meaning that this shade is much in demand and holds its value well when you come to sell it on. Be aware that it’s tricky to keep perfectly clean and, should white go out of fashion, used values might fall. It’s good, though, that BMW is offering this colour for free.
Crimson red (£0)
A rich red that helps bring a little more dynamism to the 1 Series’ slightly conservative styling. A good choice for someone who doesn’t want a tedious white or black car but equally doesn’t want to splash out on one of the metallic colours. Moderately easy to clean and resell.
Jet black (£0)
The third and final free shade on the 1 Series and, for many buyers, it’s a total no-brainer. Black is timeless and is always a safe bet when it comes to resale because it’s very desirable. It’s not as easy as some to keep clean and, if you’re unlucky enough, it does show up dents and scratches more than other shades.
These hues command a price premium over the solid paints but the addition of microscopic metal flakes into the paintwork gives them a metallic sheen that changes depending on the angle that you view it at. BMW has been quite generous with the prices of these metallic shades – some from rival manufacturers command four-figure prices.
Glacier silver (£550)
We’re not sure how many glaciers are actually this colour but this bright silver is certain to be an easy decision. It might cost more than the solid colours but the metallic paint sheen should make it that much more an eye-catching shade. It’ll be easy to sell on but won’t be that easy to keep clean on our scruffy roads.
Deep sea blue (£550)
No – we’re not talking about a mutant shark-based action movie, but instead we have a rich shade of blue for the 1 Series. It’s a classically understated colour that’s made more special by the metallic sheen from the paint. It’ll be fairly easy to keep clean and won’t put off many potential buyers when you sell it on.
Black sapphire (£550)
This is the metallic shade of black available on the 1 Series. Unlike Jet black, it has metallic flakes in the paintwork which means it should have more depth and reflective properties as the light hits it from different angles. We struggle to tell much difference, however, so be absolutely sure this is the shade you want.
Midnight blue (£550)
Despite its billing, it’s a lighter shade than Deep sea blue but still a rich, warm blue. The metallic element in the paint gives it real depth and makes the most of the 1 Series silhouette. Like most darker blues, it’ll be fairly easy to keep clean and won’t be too trickly to resell.
Mineral grey (£550)
Dark greys – sometimes known as gunmetal – are hugely popular with new and used buyers so this is a safe bet for resale values. The dark finish should be pretty good at hiding the worst of British road grime meaning you won’t have to clean it too often. Don’t buy if you want to stand out, though.
Mineral white (£550)
As mentioned, white is very popular now and, provided it stays that way, a white 1 Series won’t be too difficult to resell. As with all light shades, it will show up road grime faster than other colours meaning it’ll cost more to keep clean. Be absolutely sure you want this metallic white over the free solid white because you’d be hard pressed to tell much difference.
Liquid blue (£550)
Light blue is a popular colour, especially in metallic form. By casting its net across both silver and blue, this shade could win over a lot of buyers. It won’t walk out the used car showroom as quickly as black or silver but it won’t be too hard to sell – you’ll probably have to work harder keeping it clean…
Valencia orange (£550)
Definitely one for the extroverts among us, Valencia orange is a bold shade that harks back to the limited-edition 1M Coupe. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but we think it looks quite stylish in this colour – it brings some welcome brightness to an otherwise conservative car. It won’t be the easiest to resell but, on the bright side, at least it’s not yellow…
Sparkling bronze (£550)
Unlike Valencia orange, this shade definitely suits the introverts among us. It’s certainly stylish and will hide the road grime effectively but will slip neatly under the radar when needed. Metallic browns are gaining in popularity so we don’t expect this to be too hard to sell on.
Save money on your next car
Why not check out our aggregated review of the BMW 1 Series and its rivals the Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3. Then take a look at our BMW 1 Series deals page to specify one for yourself – what colour will you pick?