"The 1-Series Coupé is a true junior BMW, diluting the brand's core value of luxury and sportiness into a compact package that is both fun to drive and cheap to run too."
In coupé form, the 1-Series can look awkward from some angles, particularly in profile. Aside from that, there's very little not to like about it. The driving position is excellent and the range of engines is arguably the best on the market, with all offering impressive performance and class-leading economy. It's also more comfortable, better to drive and slightly more practical than the hatchback model.
No matter which engine you choose, you're guaranteed impressive performance in the 1-Series Coupé. The 120d diesel engine arguably offers the best of both worlds, with 0-62mph taking just 7.9 seconds but combined fuel economy of 60.1mpg. For outright performance buyers can choose the 135i which accelerates to 62mph in just 5.3 seconds or the flagship 'M Coupé' which is even quicker. Both these models come equipped with firmer suspension as standard making them much more agile through the corners, but they are more uncomfortable as a result. The other models are more comfortable but are still great fun to drive because of the confidence-inspiring steering and huge amounts of grip.
Where the hatchback feels quite stiff and tends to crash over large potholes, the coupé is much more comfortable. There's a good balance between soaking up bumps in the road and also limiting body roll, making the 1-Series Coupé feel both sporty and comfortable at the same time. Watch out for some of the range-topping models though, which get stiff sports suspension, shifting the balance far more towards the sporty end of the scale, rather than the comfort end. On the move and at idle, all the engines are incredibly quiet, but there does tend to be a noticeable amount of noise from the tyres at high speeds and also quite a bit of wind noise on the motorway.
There has been some minor criticism of the build quality in the cabin of the 1-Series, but only because it doesn't match the extremely high standards set by BMW. Compared to other cars in this segment, it is leagues apart. Our research shows 1 Series owners are satisfied with their cars. There have been no major issues, and safety impresses too, with the hatchback model scoring a full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety test.
The coupé version is undoubtedly more comfortable for rear passengers than the hatchback, and the back of the front seats is moulded to allow for extra knee-room. It will still be a bit of a squeeze for taller passengers though. Shoulder room shouldn't be a problem because there's only two seats in the back. There's an extra 40 litres of space in the boot compared to the hatchback, making a total of 370 litres. The rear seats can also be folded down to make room for larger items.
Value for money
As with most BMWs, the list of standard equipment isn't particularly long. Basics like alloy wheels, air-conditioning and electric windows come as standard, but if you want extras, you could find the price quickly soaring. If you opt for the expensive satellite navigation, BMW's sophisticated iDrive system is included, and allows buyers to control everything from the radio to the vehicle set-up. Looking at the high list-price may initially put you off, but remember that BMWs hold their value particularly well and the range of engines on offer are all cheap to run.
Equipped with BMW's EfficientDynamics technology, which includes stop/start, brake energy regeneration and low-rolling resistance tyres, the peppy diesels offer incredibly low running costs. Most frugal is the 118d, which claims 62.8mpg and emits 119g/km of CO2. Alternatively, the 120d and 123d are almost just as frugal but offer improved performance. You'll need deep pockets to run some of the more expensive petrol engines though.