Both the Mini 5-door and BMW 1 Series are high quality, sporty hatchbacks so choosing between them can be tricky. Both models rival other luxury hatches such as the Mercedes A-Class, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf but, unlike those cars, prioritise a fun driving experience above all else.
On top of their prowess on the road, both look smart and feel upmarket. So which is best? We’re pitting them against each other to help you figure out which is for you. Put either the Mini 5-door or the BMW 1 Series in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
Mini 5-door vs BMW 1 Series styling
The Mini’s extra set of doors hasn’t affected its cheeky retro styling, meaning it still has the youthful image of its three-door sibling. The BMW in its post-facelift guise is a more serious machine. With straight, sharp edges and distinctive creases, it has a typically desirable German appearance and, as a result, will suit those who like to fly under the radar.
If it’s personalisation you’re looking for, the Mini offers it in spades. With a myriad of colours, wheels, stickers and contrasting roof shades, you’re unlikely to see a totally identical Mini out on the road. Beware, however, an extensively personalised Mini can become very expensive and be harder to sell to the used market.
Mini 5-door vs BMW 1 Series interiors
The Mini has a retro cockpit with a layout that’s unlike anything else on the market. It isn’t as bewilderingly mad as the previous model, but it’s still a place where you’re unlikely to become bored anytime soon.
The BMW, again, is traditional in its setup with a similar interior design to other BMWs making it easy to use on the move. The BMW has a higher centre console and all the dashboard controls are tilted towards the driver meaning you feel more cocooned with the car built around you where the Mini feels more open and airy.
Neither would make a great family car, unfortunately. The Mini might’ve sprouted an extra pair of doors but it’s still very cramped for rear seat passengers. The BMW is marginally better but its rear-wheel drive architecture means a VW Golf is more practical.
Mini 5-door vs BMW 1 Series driving
This is where both cars excel and is certainly one of the main reasons people buy them. The Mini has a front-engined, front-wheel drive platform while the BMW has a front-engined, rear-wheel drive platform like many sports cars. This gives them different driving characteristics but they’re both equally enjoyable.
Critics say the Mini feels extremely agile and responsive with sharp steering, minimal body roll and lots of grip. Some especially sensitive reviewers have said the extra bulk of the 5-door has muted some of its driving dynamics but, for normal drivers, you won’t notice the difference. The Mini is fairly refined and comfortable car but, for longer journeys, the BMW would be the better choice.
Mini 5-door vs BMW 1 Series engines
The powerful Mini Cooper S still achieves 52mpg despite being able to hit 0-62mph in just 6.8 seconds. Then there’s the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit in the basic Cooper – the same engine found in the BMW i8 supercar – which can achieve over 60.1mpg and sprint to 62mph in a little over eight seconds. The Mini can also achieve upwards of over 80mpg in diesel guise.
The 1-Series is equally as impressive with the most fuel efficient 116d model able to return nearly 80mpg. Petrol engines also find a decent balance between performance and economy – especially the M135i. It’s the diesels that impress the most, however – the 120d version fitted with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive can sprint from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds yet can achieve over 60mpg on average. That’s hot-hatch pace with supermini running costs.
Mini 5-door vs BMW 1 Series practicality
The Mini isn’t as practical as the BMW but, in five-door guise, it marks a noticeable improvement over the hatch. Leg- and headroom have improved, so too has the amount of boot space provided although it still trails the 1-Series by 82 litres.
In the rear, both cars can squeeze three people abreast but they’re only good for short journeys. Any longer and the limited head-, leg- and elbowroom will leave them in want of a chiropractor.
Mini 5-door vs BMW 1 Series verdict
The Mini’s appeal is hard to ignore – you know it offers all the driving thrills you’ll ever want from a car and, in five-door guise, makes even more sense for family motoring.
If it’s a practical, stress-free ownership experience you’re after but still want a fun and luxurious car, however, the BMW is the more sensible choice here.
Save money on your new Mini or BMW 1 Series
Put either the Mini 5-door or the BMW 1 Series in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. For more options, check out our best offers on our new car deals page or, if you still can’t find the one for you, let our car chooser help.