A BMW survey, carried out two years ago, revealed that the majority of customers buying the 5-door model were males (57:43) and that the overall average age was 43 years old.
The three-door version has a hint of coupe about it due, in part, to the frameless doors. But what makes the 1-series stand out are the strong swage lines along the sides and the curious way that the body bulges outwards, midway along its length.
Despite the long front doors, it is quite awkward to get in and particularly, out of the rear seats, although legroom is adequate once you’re in. Three rear seats are standard issue but just two can be ordered at no extra cost. In this format, the rear seats are more sculpted and are separated by a storage compartment. Whatever option is taken, the luggage capacity remains at 330-litres increasing to 1,150-litres with the seats folded.
There are four trim levels for all engine sizes save the 130i, which is only available as an M Sport, The base model doesn’t have a trim designation, just the engine size but it does have height-adjustment for the driver’s seat, a rake- and reach-adjustable steering column, electric windows and door mirrors and a slot in key-fob with a start/stop button. Unusually, the base model isn’t distinguished by black rubbing strips, everything, including door handles, is body-coloured. Halogen headlamps are standard and entertainment comes in the form of a Business, single CD/radio/MP3.
The next level up is the ES, which adds air-conditioning and 16-inch alloys, while the SE brings in automatic air-conditioning, a front armrest, heated door mirrors, front fog lights, Park Distance Control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a multi-functional, leather-clad, sports steering wheel and heated washer jets.
M Sport models have larger, 17-inch alloys, Aluminium Glacier Silver interior trimmings, leather covered handbrake and gear-knob, an Aerodynamic Package, M Sports suspension, sports seats in cloth and Sensatec, faux leather, and an ‘M’ steering wheel.
The 130i M Sport is slightly different with 18-inch alloys, ‘M’ chrome sill finishers, twin tailpipes, chrome front grille, rain sensing wipers and automatic headlights.
Prices range from £17,810 for the 118i to £26,380 for the 130i M Sport. The test car came with some of the many optional extras, such as the Business navigation system at £1,460. It has a colour screen that pops up out of the top of the dashboard and while this tidies up the fascia, especially with the i-Drive dial installed, it does mean that audio CDs cannot be played when the navigation is in use, The answer is to make use of the USB and iPod connections or order a 6CD autochanger (£295).
There are six airbags, fitted as standard, including two, intelligent, dual-stage cushions in the front. For families, there are ISOFIX anchoring points on the outer rear seats and for everyone else, a batch of tensioners and limiters, power cut off and automatic hazard light activation, in the event of an accident.
A BMW survey, carried out two years ago, revealed that the majority of customers buying the 5-door model were males (57:43) and that the overall average age was 43 years old. Moreover, a third of buyers were educated to degree level with the most popular professions being company directors, marketing executives and financial specialists.
Unfortunately, there is a certain amount of stigma attached to the BMW marque with many people being put off by the generally perceived attitude of BMW drivers. That said, my partner, who falls into that category remarked, “I don’t like BMW's but I’d buy a 130i.” What’s not to like?29 April 2008
BMW 1 Series Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||BMW 130i M Sport|
|Body Type||3-Door Hatchback|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||6 Seconds|
|Top Speed||155 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||47.1 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5|
|Warranty||3-Years / Unlimited Mileage|
|Price (when tested on the 29/04/08)||£26,675|