2012 BMW 1-Series

Both parking and fuel prices are at a premium, and is the main reason why most car manufacturers now have compact cars. They are for the most part sized just right, capable of squeezing into small spaces and have just enough room to haul down the family and some luggage. One of the premier car companies in the world, BMW, of course would want a share of the pie: to create a small car with the nuances that you expect from a BMW. What’s given birth is the BMW 1 series.

The BMW 1 series was first released in 2004 as a 5 door hatchback. Over the years, there have been various trims that were made available: a 3 door hatchback, a 2 door coupe, and a convertible. The release of this car is considered a success, as it helped BMW gained the lead over Lexus in the luxury car class. It is one of the more premium priced compacts around.


The BMW 1 Series is probably the best performing car in its class. It has 2 engine options: the 3.0 inline 6 engine (equipped in the 128i) that is capable of producing 230 horsepower, and the 3.0 liter inline 6 engine equipped with a turbocharger (equipped in the 135i) capable of producing 300 horsepower, a huge number for its class. Also, the handling is spectacular, befitting the BMW badge. The base suspension is properly tuned, and the steering and brakes are very solid. An optional upgraded wheels and suspension can improve its handling even more.

So what exactly are the strong points of the 2012 BMW 1 Series? The first thing that would be noted is that it is very fun to drive. With a powerful engine, great brakes, and a proper suspension setup, you can drive this car really fast. Probably the most track ready among the compact cars, it can blast through winding roads and make your everyday commute a bit more interesting. In addition, the interior bits are something that you expect from a car its price: simple yet sophisticated.

Exterior & Interior

For the 2012 model of the BMW 1 series (it is the final year of this generation of the 1 Series, with the second generation to be released later this year), the looks of the car was generally unchanged except for the redesigning of the front and rear lights. Also, the front end is modified to fir BMW’s Air Curtain, a system that helps generate better aerodynamics. However, the styling remains generally the same, which means it is possible that people will remain split about what to say about its looks.

The interior is fitted with gadgetry and luxury that you expect from a BMW and something with that kind of a price tag. The interior components are made simple yet fitted with high quality materials. Amenities such as a USB port, a HD radio, and an onboard computer that tracks car status are also there. Equipping it with a navigation system would include BMW’s controversial iDrive system, but it is more refined than in previous years.

Pros & Cons

However, the BMW 1 Series has its share of faults. On the top of the complaints list is the fuel consumption. With a mpg average of 18 for city driving and 25 for highway driving, those are really bad numbers for a compact car. Also, rear space is terribly small. Adults could barely fit into the rear seats, and is seemingly best reserved for children. And to top it all off, the boot space is quite small.

All in all, the 2012 BMW 1 Series is a mixed bag. Its price might scare off most compact car buyers, and it is not the most practical car to own. However, it is a true driver’s car. It packs strong performance potential that only few of its competition can. This car is a perfect last hurrah for the first generation 1 Series.

Overall Rating
70 out of 100

What others say:

“BMW says manual-transmission 135i coupes do 5.1 seconds 0-60, which is both quick and believable.”Consumer Guide

“Powerful, fuel-efficient engines; nimble handling; solid construction; refined performance; convertible available.”Edmunds

“At track day events hosted for automotive media, the 1 Series Coupe may not represent the latest or greatest in automotive sheetmetal, but you wouldn’t know it from the people waiting in line to drive it.”KBB


General Info
Vehicle Type: Coupe-128i Base Price: $30,950.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 14 gallons (53 liters) Miles Per Gallon: 18 city / 28 hwy
Length: 172.2 in. (437 cm) Width: 68.8 in. (174.7 cm)
Height: 56 in. (142 cm) Curb Weight: 3208 lbs (1455 kg)
Wheel Base: 104.7 in. (265.9 cm) Interior Volume: 96 cu ft
Luggage Capacity: 10 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Engine: 24-valve DOHC inline-6 Displacement: 3.0 liter
Horsepower: 230 HP Max RPM: 6500 RPM
Torque: 200 lb-ft @ 2750 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
0-60 mph: 6.1 seconds Top Speed: 150 mph
Available Trims & Engine
Option:135i Coupe MSRP: $39,050; MPG: 20 city / 28 hwy
Option:128i Convertible MSRP: $36,600; MPG: 18 city / 28 hwy
Option:135i Convertible MSRP: $43,800; MPG: 17 city / 26 hwy