BMW 1-Series Hatchback (2011 -) Comfort

Review by Simon McBride on
Last Updated: 08 Feb 2016
4.5
Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but you would have to be a bit of BMW fan to believe the original 1 Series was a good looking hatchback. In fact its long bonnet and rounded rear-end made it look as though it had been prodded a little with the ugly stick.

4 out of 5

Comfort

BMW 1 Series comfort levels have improved slightly as the car has grown up a fraction from the previous generation. Don’t expect to be stretching your legs out too far though as the extended wheelbase has improved rear passenger space by a measly 20mm. The svelte lines of the 1 Series means it is still a cramped in the back and there’s not really enough room for three adults.

Rivals like the Volkswagen Golf, the Ford Focus and the Audi A3 Sportback offer more space in the rear. In the front things are better with comfortable seats that offer good support for your back. There's plenty of side support too which helps keep you hemmed in when driving more enthusiastically. Road roar, wind and tyre noise are acceptable and not overly intrusive making the 1 Series a pleasant place to be.

3.5 out of 5

Practicality

Practicality was not a strong point of the previous model but this version has seen some improvements. The rear is still on the small side but the boot capacity has increased by 30 litres to 360 litres. This makes the luggage space of the 1 Series larger than a Volkswagen Golf by 10 litres with the seats in place. Fold the rear seats down and this space expands to 1,200 litres.

There are plenty of cubby holes dotted around the front of the cabin to keep spare change and other bits and pieces in place.

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How does the boot space compare?

341 litres
BMW 1-Series Hatchback (11 on)
330 litres
280 litres
272 litres
3.5 out of 5

Behind the wheel

The 1 Series offers one of the best driving positions in the sector and enthusiasts will enjoy the low seat position. Adjustments for rake and reach on the steering wheel make finding a comfortable driving position a cinch. A highlight of the cabin is the iDrive system as one dial allows you to control the sat nav, air-con and the entertainment systems.

The BMW is not as well finished as the Audi A3, and lacks some of the premium feel of its competitor, but all the switchgear is logically thought out.