Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Interior design very similar to 3 Series
  • Digital dashboard and head-up display debut on 1 Series
  • Infotainment system uses excellent rotary dial controller

How is the quality and layout?

The 1 Series’ cabin takes much inspiration from its BMW 3 Series bigger brother, no bad thing in our book. There’s lots of physical buttons and dials rather than touch sensitive icons which makes it refreshingly simple to use.  

It’s also very well screwed together, feeling far more solid than the A-Class and with nicer materials than the A3. Put simply, it’s one of the best hatchback interiors out there.

Infotainment and tech 

BMW’s Operating System 7.0 is fitted as standard to the 1 Series. The functionality on offer is superb, with the Android-like menu system allowing web browsing and other apps, as well as the usual sat-nav, media and telephone functions.

The menus aren’t quite as clearly laid out as you would find in an Audi A3, but the iDrive rotary dial control method is incredibly easy to use. Multiple shortcut buttons on the centre console are also worth their weight in gold due to how intuitive they are to use when on the move.

The 10.25-inch digital dashboard display, however, is less of a success. Its fairly basic setup feels better suited to the 1 Series than the 8 Series, for example, but the level of functionality compared to what Mercedes-Benz and Audi offers, is lacking.

Users aren’t able to cycle the entire screen through different modes, instead seeing only a small portion change instead. The virtual dial design, too, isn’t as clear as BMW’s previously excellent analogue equivalents.

A 9.2-inch head-up display is also available as an optional accessory. If you can stretch to the extra cost, we reckon it’s well worth speccing – offering clear, easy-to-understand graphics. BMW Gesture Control also features as an optional extra, allowing the user to change settings such as the stereo volume using just hand gestures. In action, it's a little bit of a waste of time - it's quicker and easier to just reach across and turn the volume knob or use the controls on the steering wheel.


  • Enough space for tall drivers
  • Electric seats offer great comfort
  • All-round refinement is hard to fault

Drivers of all sizes shouldn’t have any difficulty getting comfortable in the 1 Series, especially since the level of headroom feels noticeably more generous up front than it does in the rear. What’s more, the pedals are flanked by enough space for a well-sized footrest, while the cabin as a whole feels generously proportioned.

Versions of the 1 Series we’ve driven so far boast excellent refinement across the board, from the hushed 118d engine to the minimal amounts of tyre and wind noise. Ride comfort on the adaptive dampers is at the firmer end of the spectrum (but not uncomfortable), plus the all-round control weights, material quality and solid feel of the cabin add up to make a relaxing drive. The same goes for the entry-level 118i, the engine remaining very hushed at all times. 

The M135i's electric sports seats and regular electric seats are both very comfortable. The former in particular, offered adjustable bolsters that fill with air in order to give more support to occupants during hard cornering. We were also impressed by the level of adjustability on offer, especially with regards to the height of the seat base and steering wheel reach.