Today The Car Spotter will be reviewing a BMW 120d Sport. This particular white BMW 1 series features a 2.0 litre diesel engine with a manual gearbox. The 1 series 120d sport model costs £24,995 new.
The BMW 1 series is a premium hatchback, popular with people looking for a hatchback with the reliability and quality build of a BMW with a sporty touch.
The Sport pack models come standard with 5 spoke alloys, redesigned front/rear bumpers and side skirts. Chrome exhausts are present on the Sport models and inside, there’s sport seats in cloth with a red stripe and a multi-function steering wheel. Red stitching and highlights are amongst other features.
All Sport cars gain sports suspension that firms the ride, reduces body roll and improves handling.
The tinted rear windows and rear windscreen are the only optional extra fitted to the BMW.
Adding the Sport pack to any BMW is a no brainer in my opinion and vastly improves the appearance and performance of any car.
The 1 series looks much more aesthetically pleasing in person than in pictures, the appearance definitely grows on you. Clean BMW lines and traditional kidney grilles are present, with a sharp curved back. The bonnet and front of the BMW 1 series is quite elongated in comparison to the rest of the car.
A low roofline, narrow windows and a steep front bumper ensure the 1 series has a planted look.
Subtle, yet sharp Sport styling pack includes 5 spoke alloys finished in brushed aluminium with black inserts. They really set off the car in addition to the more stylish body kit.
A single chrome exhaust can be seen poking out of the rear of the BMW 1 series and a shark-fin roof antenna continues the minimalist, integrated look of the vehicle.
Tinted rear cabin windows and rear windscreen add to the sporty look.
Surprisingly quick for a 2.0 litre diesel. The car really shifts from a standstill being rear-wheel driven, completing 0-62mph in just 7.1 seconds. The top speed of the BMW 120d is 142mph and the power output is 170bhp. The manual gearbox works well with the 120d Sport and delivers plenty of torque where needed. Overtaking is a breeze by dropping the 1 series into 3rd gear.
Four different driving modes can be selected: Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport and Sport+. Eco Pro allows for better fuel economy, particularly useful on long journeys. BMW claim a 10% better fuel economy. Sport increases throttle response and Sport+ also switches off stability and traction control. Comfort is the standard selected mode upon startup.
A small niggle is that the gearstick judders slightly whilst driving.
Ride and Handling
Compared to other manufacturers, BMW’s seem to have small steering wheels. The 1 series is no exception, but this is something that I enjoy. The multi-function leather steering wheel feels less clumsy for it. Having driven various BMW’s, I can confirm the 1 series also has the traditional heavy BMW steering. This can be interpreted as quality engineering and sturdiness but it is easier to manoeuvre a smaller steering wheel than a large one when this is the case.
The 120d Sport has sports suspension as standard which is quite firm. Great for when you are in the mood for testing out the capabilities, but on long journeys some people may find the ride slightly uncomfortable.
Interior and technology
The interior is similar to any BMW, alcantara sports seats are standard with the Sport model in addition to a red aluminium and gloss black interior. Inside, the 1 Series serves purpose without being overbearing. BMW i-drive media interface is intuitive and easy to use to navigate the display screen. The single dial controls the sat nav, air-con and entertainment systems.
The small, compact multi-function leather steering wheel makes selecting options a breeze.
BMW 1 series Sport comes standard with red stitching on seats, steering wheel and door cards.
Solid and simple BMW buttons and dials feel robust. The overall interior is not too flashy but promotes quality. With the Sport option, you get that hint of performance throughout the interior with the subtle Sport details. The interior feels well made, certainly not cheaply put together but it isn’t anything remarkable.
Two large dials incorporate all required information. Speed in both mph and kmh on the left along with fuel. The right dial is the rev counter. The bottom display tab includes seatbelt warning lights, selected driving style and reserve fuel light. Steering wheel buttons allow the user to cycle through various display options.
Efficiency, MPG and running costs
BMW claims a fuel efficiency of 63mpg and tank range of 718 miles. Actual mpg was closer to 48/49mpg when driving on a long journey and less if you are harder on the throttle.
C02 emissions are 118 g/km which relates to road tax being just £30 per year. Warranty of the car is 3 years. The car is pretty cost friendly overall. It costs about £55 to fill up the 52 litre fuel tank.
Comfort, space and practicality
The 1 series features a low seating position for a hatchback, but then this is a BMW and is geared more towards driving and performance than your average hatchback. As a driver or passenger you feel very near to the ground. It is a conscious effort to get into the 1 series, especially if the seats are low. For enthusiastic drivers though, this is a good thing and a great driving position.
The car is comfortable to drive, the steering wheel height can be adjusted and there is plenty of space and head height for the driver and passenger.
The rear interior of the car has less headroom and tall passengers may struggle to fit in the back as rear leg room is far from generous, but it is adequate. The 1 series seats 5 in total.
Boot space is 360 litres and the seats can be folded down to increase the overall space to 1,200 litres. Certainly enough for normal daily requirements.
To open the boot, the BMW badge doubles an opening mechanism. This nifty feature reduces parts on the boot panel and is a very nice touch. I have also experienced this on other cars including VW Golf’s.
The BMW 120d is a great compromise of efficiency and performance. The 2 litre diesel engine has a lot of performance on offer and drivers certainly won’t require any more power.
The 1 series BMW sport is certainly at the top end of the hatchback price bracket at just under £25,000, but users benefit from the premium BMW features and excellent German engineering notorious with BMW’s. It is priced competitively with other premium hatchbacks from Audi and Mercedes.
The Car Spotter likes:
- Really fun to drive
- Quality, sturdy feel
- Great acceleration
- Driving mode choices
The Car Spotter dislikes:
- Rear legroom
- Not the prettiest car
- Gearstick judder
- Poor in the snow
BMW 1 Series 120d Sport Hatchback
0-60: 7.1 seconds
Top Speed: 142mph
Torque: 380 Nm 280lb-ft
Engine: 2.0L 4 cylinder
I hope you enjoyed my review of the BMW 120d Sport hatchback.
What do you think about the BMW 1 series?
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