A sublime drive in all conditions; you'll be calling shotgun for the driver's seat
Fantastic quality throughout and a great driving position
Six airbags and stability control are standard, and deadlocks should deter thieves
Solidly built car continues BMW's excellent reliability record
This car's only weakness. Even the kids will moan about rear space, and you can't really put them in the boot, even if it is a decent size
All the basics come as standard, so there's not too much scope for going crazy on the options
If you avoid the M Sport models, the 1 Series Coupe rides pretty well, plus its steering provides good feedback and body roll is well controlled. Just don't expect good refinement; you can often hear road noise coursing through the wheelarches and wind noise builds up around the door mirrors at motorway speeds. The 120d diesel is the pick of the engine range, combining gutsy performance with over 60mpg. By contrast, the 125i petrol is best avoided because it needs to be revved hard and averages just 34.9mpg.
Given the 1 Series Coupe's compact dimensions, it's hardly surprising that the rear seats aren't especially accommodating. There are only two of them, and even kids will find their knees pressed up against the back of the front seats. Things are better farther forward, where the basic driving position is spot-on and there's a good range of adjustment, although the standard manual seat controls are fiddly. The logically arranged buttons and switches feel almost as classy as those in bigger BMW's, but many of the plastic panels are disappointingly hard to the touch. Only the boot is hard to find fault with; it's a good size and can be boosted when needed thanks to 60/40 split-folding rear seat backs.
While the 1 Series Coupe wasn't included in the last JD Power customer satisfaction survey, the mechanically identical hatchback was rated above average for mechanical reliability. The hatchback also achieved the maximum five-star rating for adult occupant protection in Euro NCAP crash tests, although it managed only three out of five for child safety. All 1 Series Coupes come with front, side and full-length curtain airbags, and an electronic stability control system that helps you regain control if the car starts to slide.
The 1 Series Coupe is enjoyable to drive and it's available with some fine diesel engines. However, it's not very practical, even by coupe standards, and the interior quality is a bit disappointing. We'd look elsewhere or wait for the next generation model.