The BMW 1 Series is now in its second generation. Since the launch of the first model in 2004, BMW’s compact premium hatch has offered a more involving driving experience and more distinctive look to customers that might have otherwise bought the Audi A3.
BMW brought in a raft of subtle mechanical and styling change for the 2015 facelift – in particular, tidying up the slightly gawky face of the outgoing car. As one of the smallest car in BMW’s line-up, it’s possible some buyers will be looking to downsize from larger models in the range, so it’s important it’ll fit everything you’ll require it to.
So how big is it? Our dimensions guide helps you figure out how large it is inside and out, with comparison to some common alternatives.
At 4,329mm, the 1 Series sits at the smallest end of BMW’s range – only the electric i3 hatch is shorter. For those who are looking to move into something smaller than, say, a current 3 Series, then it’s a useful 30cm shorter, and very slightly narrower, too. If compactness is an absolute priority though, it’s worth noting that both the Audi A3 (4,237mm three door, 4,310mm five door) and Mercedes A Class (4,292mm) are shorter.
Inside, space is pretty much on par with its rivals. With just over one metre from the base of the front seat to the roof, the 1 Series provides a negligible 2mm less headroom in the front than the Audi A3, but 20mm more headroom in the back.
|Shoulder room (front/rear)||1,436mm/1,417mm|
The boot opening for the 1 Series is low and wide, which means, although it’s overall volume can’t quite match that found in the A3 (380 litres) or the larger 3 Series (480 litres), the space is still easily accessible. The rear seats fold away level with the boot floor, and allow up to 1,200 litres of cargo space.
|Seats up||360 litres|
|Seats down||1,200 litres|
Turning circle and fuel tank capacity
One advantage of the rear-wheel drive 1 Series is there are fewer mechanical components to get in the way of the steering rack, which normally allows for a tighter turning circle. Despite its potentially advantageous layout, an 11-metre turning circle is rather disappointing, especially considering that the front-wheel drive Audi A3 can out-manoeuvre it.
The 52-litre fuel tank is relatively modest but, combined with the 74.3mpg-rated 116d, it still promises a potential range of 850 miles. Mind you, you’ll manage less than half that in the M135i – though we’re sure the extra performance will more than compensate for the extra fuel stops…
|Turning circle||11 metres|
|Fuel tank||52 litres|
Ideally you’d like a car to be as light as possible. Less weight means less effort for the engine which, in turn, means better performance, better fuel economy, and lower stresses and strains on mechanical components.
When it comes to the weigh-in, the 1 Series is average for the class. The higher up the range you head, the larger engines and extra standard equipment push the weight up marginally.
|1,375kg (118i)||1,505kg (M135i)|
Want to know more?
Need a little more time to research? Take a look at our full review of the 1 Series to see how it fares against its rivals – the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class. Don’t forget to check out our car configurator to see how much you could save on your next car and our deals page to see our latest discounts.