Car trim reviews

BMW 1 Series M Sport

Is the BMW 1 Series M Sport the best trim to go for? Find out here

The BMW 1 Series M Sport is fairly easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for; the larger 18-inch alloys are the biggest giveaway but there are also some subtle changes to the grille and bumpers compared with SE and Sport models.

The lower part of the grille has a sharper-looking design, and the grille has more chrome parts to help it stand out. Yet the M Sport model isn’t all about looks - there are plenty of other changes over other models in the range, and since it’s a top-spec car, there’s more equipment inside as well.

Top 10 best luxury small cars 2021

All BMW 1 Series M Sport cars have sports suspension that improves the car’s handling and there are some other driving-focused options such as a larger fuel tank, sportier steering and more powerful brakes.

BMW 1 Series M Sport

The BMW 1 Series M Sport is available with two petrol engines - the basic 138bhp 118i and the powerful 302bhp 2.0-litre M135i model. Diesel engines include the 116d, the 118d and the 120d, with increasing power outputs. You also get the option of either manual or automatic gearboxes and even the possibility of all-wheel drive.

Petrol makes sense for all-round use, so the 118i is our pick for most people. Those looking for a sporty drive will want either the 128ti or range-topping M135i hot hatchbacks, and those who do a lot of motorway miles might want one of the punchy but efficient diesels.

The BMW 1 Series is aimed at buyers looking for an upmarket small car, and targets the same customers as the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class. It’s the most fun to drive of the three, especially in M Sport form.

It’s sporty to drive but not uncomfortable, and the engines are smooth and powerful. It’s well equipped and M Sport trim brings useful additions such as heated front seats. As M Sport holds its value reasonably well, it’s often good value on finance.

BMW 1 Series M Sport interior

The M Sport model’s firmer suspension and larger alloy wheels means it’s not as comfortable over bumps and potholes as the SE or Sport versions. 

The BMW 1 Series in general isn’t as practical as a Volkswagen Golf, nor is it as fun to drive as a Ford Focus. It’s worth considering cars with less upmarket brands to get the best value for money, especially as M Sport is the most expensive version of the 1 Series.

What you get

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Sporty suspension
  • Heated seats
  • LED headlights
  • Climate control
  • Parking sensors
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Cruise control
  • Sports seats
  • Sat-nav

Recommended optional extras

  • Larger fuel tank
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Parking Assistant

Verdict

The M Sport model can be good value as long as you do your research. The BMW 118i M Sport is the best version to go for if you’re unsure which will work for you. It has plenty of performance - 0-62mph takes 8.5 seconds - and delivers decent fuel economy of between 42.2 and 47.1mpg. As it’s a petrol, it’s quieter and smoother than the diesel versions around town. The auto gearbox suits the car best but the manual is fine too.

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