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Review

Last updated: 2nd March 2015

Review

BMW 1 Series Convertible (2007 - 2011) review

Read the BMW 1 series convertible (2008 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.

Last updated: 2nd March 2015
The Auto Trader expert verdict: 3.9 The BMW 1 Series Cabriolet offers great top-down motoring thanks to its appealing styling, superb range of engines and top-notch driving experience.

Pros

  • Great range of engines
  • Sharp, poised handling
  • Appealing styling

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Restricted rear visibility
  • Overly firm suspension

Interested in buying BMW 1 Series?

Find a used 1 Series Find BMW dealer

Exterior Our rating 4/5

The BMW 1 series Convertible takes the striking body of the Coupé and does away with the roof, replacing it with an electronically-operated fabric hood. Our M Sport test model also had a set of 17-inch alloys wheels. We think it’s one of the best looking current BMWs. It’s certainly more memorable than either the Audi A3 cabriolet or Volkswagen Eos.

Interior Our rating 4/5

BMW interiors are traditionally rather sober and the 1 Series Convertible is no different.  The front of the cabin consists of dark plastics with a nice feel while the door trim on our model was part black, part cream. Cream leather seats are a £970 option and provide plenty of support for a car with such a firm ride. Overall the 1 Series is a very classy place to sit.

Practicality Our rating 3/5

For a convertible the BMW 1 Series is very impressive. It will seat four adults fairly comfortably in the sculpted seats. With the roof up all-round vision isn’t the best with the rear three quarters of the roof a hindrance. The fabric roof opens or closes in a smooth motion in just 22 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. With the roof up the boot has a capacity of 305-litres dropping to 260-litres with it stowed.

Ride and handling Our rating 4/5

BMWs have a notoriously firm ride and the model we tested, with M Sport suspension, was no different. On smooth roads the 1 Series is brilliant but is uncomfortable on rougher surfaces. When it comes to corners it’s fantastic for a convertible with near non-existent lean through corners. Steering is sharp and poised with plenty of feel.

Performance Our rating 5/5

The 123d model we tested had a 2-litre diesel engine which develops 204bhp and 295lb/ft of pulling power. The convertible accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 143mph. There is enough pulling power to make the 1 Series an effortless overtaker. Engines range from a 118i  petrol, which will accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds and hit 130mph and the range-topping 135i M Sport. The latter, courtesy of a 302bhp engine will accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.6 seconds and hit a limited top speed of 155mph.

Running costs Our rating 4/5

Considering the 123d’s power and performance you could be forgiven for thinking it will be quite thirsty but BMW claims it will average 52.3mpg. After 500-plus miles, mainly on A-roads, we were averaging 41.5mpg. CO2 emissions of 144g/km mean an annual road tax bill of £125. With exception to the 125i and 135i, the range offers affordable motoring, BMW claim the models average between 44.8mpg (118i) and 57.6mpg (118d). The 125i averages 34.9mpg with the thirstier 135i claiming 30.1mpg. Insurance groups of 13 to 18 may mean high premiums depending on your age and location.

Reliability Our rating 4/5

The 1 Series Convertible is a superbly built car with a range of award-winning engines so there should be few concerns here.

Safety Our rating 4/5

The 1 Series Convertible has recieved five stars for passenger protection in the EuroNCAP crash test and is fitted with six airbags, stability control and traction control. In the event of the car rolling, metal bars will pop up from behind the back seats to provide protection.

Equipment Our rating 3/5

Standard equipment includes CD player with steering wheel controls, electric windows, on-board trip computer, air-conditioning and alarm and immobiliser. All leather seats (a £970 option) feature SunReflective technology which keeps the surface temperature up to 20 degrees centigrade lower than a normally upholstered seat.

Why buy? Our rating 4/5

The BMW 1 Series Convertible is a well proportioned, excellent handling car with a whole range of brilliant engines coupled with that aspirational badge on the bonnet. These factors all help contribute to a great hair-in-the-air experience.

Interested in buying BMW 1 Series?

Find a used 1 Series Find BMW dealer

Our recommendations

Best on a budget
118d Sport
Good diesel and decent equipment mean good value for money.
Best seller
120d SE
The 2-litre diesel powers the most popular cabriolet.
Blow the budget
123d M Sport
As our test shows, it’s the one to have.