BMW 1 Series Coupe

Price range

$43,400 – $99,900


Good: Sporty design; on-road handling performance; twin turbo diesel engine.

Not so Good: Bland interior; rear leg & headroom; iPhone connectivity.

Design and Engineering

Good : The BMW 1 Series Coupé hit our shores in May 2008 and received a mid-life facelift in August 2011 that saw the Coupe gain a number of exterior, interior and technology enhancements.

With the facelift also came the addition of a new entry-level variant; the BMW 120i Coupé.

The mid-life update brought with it a number of changes that included refreshed headlights with the option of Bi-Xenon lights, LED tail lights, new front bumper design, redesigned front vertical air intakes and a new rear bumper design.

BMW also introduced two new metallic paint finishes (Marrakesh Brown and Vermilion Red), two new interior upholstery colours (Oyster and Savannah) and a new Alpine White interior trim highlight.

The range also gained three new alloy wheel designs, including a set of 17-inch ‘Streamline’ alloy wheels fitted as standard to the 123d and 125i.

Not so good : Some people might find the design of the BMW 1 Series Coupé a little subdued in its standard guise. The M Sport Package is definitely worth considering on the lower variants, however, it still doesn’t give the car the same aggressive flared wheel arches that are found on the BMW 1 Series M Coupé.

Interior and Styling

Good : Slipping inside the BMW 1 Series Coupé you are presented with a chunky but well sized steering wheel that adjusts for both rake (up and down) and reach (in and out); it also adorns the brands badge.

Dark tones are the main theme of the 1 Series interior, with silver and white highlights spread throughout the dash and door trim. Dash plastics are soft touch, the silver highlights are metallic look and the Arctic White strip that divides the dash is hard plastic.

All control buttons and knobs are minimalistic and serve a purpose, the cockpit is very much focused on the driver with displays and window controls all angled towards the driver.

The seats are on the firm side but offer up great levels of support, they feature electronic adjustable side bolstering for an extra sung fit for spirited driving.

Not so good : The BMW 1 Series Coupé looks like a fun car and is fun to drive, however the same can’t be said about the interior. Inside portrays a more smart and sophisticated feel that doesn’t seem to match the cars character.

BMW have tried to inject some youthfulness into the interior by adding a white highlight strip; this could have been more fun if it was colour matched to the body of the car or offer up a list of colour options for customers to personalise their car.

We also found the 1 Series interior a little tight, it does have seats in the back but they serve very little purpose as it is next to impossible to seat two adults in comfort.


Good : The BMW 1 Series Coupé range is powered by three petrol engines and one diesel engine.

The entry level BMW 120i Coupé is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder in-line petrol engine delivering 115kW of power and 200Nm of torque.

Powering the BMW 125i Coupé is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line petrol engine producing 160kW of power and 270Nm of torque.

Next up is the BMW 123d powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder in-line TwinPower Turbo diesel engine producing 150kW and a whopping 400Nm of torque.

The BMW 135i Coupé is powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line TwinPower Turbo petrol engine producing 225kW of power and 400Nm of torque.

And last but not least the top-of-the-range BMW 1 Series M Coupé shares the same 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line TwinPower Turbo petrol engine as its 135i sibling; however, BMW engineers have squeezed an extra 25kW power and 100Nm of torque out of the engine for a total of 250kW of power and 500Nm of torque.

All models come with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. The 120i, 125i, and 123d are optionally upgradable to a six-speed automatic transmission, while the 135i is available with the optional seven-speed Double Clutch Transmission.

Our time was spent in the BMW 123d six-speed automatic and I must say we didn’t want to give it back. The diesel power plant had next to no turbo lag thanks to BMW’s TwinPower Turbo setup and delivered its 400Nm of torque in a liner fashion.

Not so good: For the average driver the 123d has more than enough oomph to get you from A-B, however planting the right foot too much can see the backend drift out even with ESC engaged; fun for some and others not so much.

Ride and Handling

Good : As far as handling and cornering performance the BMW 1 Series Coupé is one of the top performers. Featuring a 50:50 weight distribution front to back, the 1 Series is dynamic and agile especially when pushed through some twisted country side roads.

The electronic steering feels well weighted and direct, offering plenty of feedback to the driver so that you know what the car is doing.

The ABS anti-lock brakes are very solid and responsive, and work well with the DSC Dynamic Sta-bility Control.

Not so good : It’s really hard to criticize the ride and handling of the BMW 1 Series Coupé because it does it so well. If we were to nitpick we’d say that the ride is a little on the firm side, however, it is a two door coupé so you can expect that from a car of this type.

Buying and Owning

Good : The major draw card for the BMW 1 Series Coupé is the rear-wheel-drive drivetrain and the powerful yet frugal 2.0-litre diesel engine.

If you look to the other end of the scale, you could also say that the BMW 1 Series M Coupé is awesome value for money in relation to its bigger brother the BMW M3.

You’ll be hard pressed trying to find a competitor that can offer this much fun and performance.

Not so good : The BMW 1 Series Coupe is a little thin on the standard equipment list. The options list is fairly extensive but you do pay a premium.

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