$5,680 - $8,574

2009 BMW 1-Series Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2009 BMW 1-Series was new.


Interior: 7.1

Reviewers find strong similarities between the established 3-Series and BMW's new 1-Series model when it comes to interior quality and features. But while the front row seats are very comfortable and supportive, several note that the rear row is too tight even for a coupe or convertible.

  • "The 135i is, officially, smaller than the 3-series coupe: 8.9 inches shorter and 1.4 inches narrower. But that loss of dimension doesn't get you much except a crick in your neck." -- Los Angeles Times
  • "It's on par with any BMW, clean and elegant." -- The Detroit News
  • "It may be the least-expensive BMW sold in America, but the interior treatment of the 1 Series is anything but cheap." -- Kelley Blue Book

Front Seat

The 2009 BMW 1-Series has comfortable and supportive front seats.

  • "The 1 Series seats only four, but front-seat passengers enjoy plenty of head and legroom." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The front bucket seats are very comfortable and supportive, with big side bolsters. The 135i steering wheel tilts and telescopes, helping drivers of different shapes and sizes to find the ideal driving position." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "From behind the wheel in the spacious front seat-where there's plenty of headroom-the driver isn't aware of the 1-series' shrunken size." -- Car and Driver
  • "Overall, the cockpit is comfortable and sporty. It holds you firmly in place and inspires you to speed up. 'Honest officer, my six-way adjustable seats covered in Boston leather and firm bolsters made me go fast.'" -- The Detroit News

Rear Seats

The overwhelming majority says the less time spent in the 1-Series backseat, the better. Some auto writers chalk the tight quarters up to the car's size, others say the dimensions are a squeeze even for a coupe.

  • "Although the 1-Series is technically a four-seater, the rear seats are best left to children, very petite adults, or, more realistically, groceries or luggage. The convertible offers even less room, but compared with other compact coupes and convertibles, the BMW 1-Series' lack of space isn't particularly out of the ordinary." -- Edmunds
  • "The coupe is a very comfortable ride for two people. If two more join the party, they'll have to make do in the back for short trips to the movies or a club. A long haul in the back for an adult is not recommended." -- The Detroit News
  • "There's enough headroom and legroom for an average-size adult to sit behind another average-size adult, but any front-seater over six-feet tall will delete rear legroom behind them. The cabin is quite narrow, so two adults sit shoulder to shoulder. Elbow space is very tight in the coupe and even less in the convertible, as its sidewalls are angled in to make room for the top." -- Consumer Guide

Interior Features

The BMW 1-Series' features are easy to use and designed well. The cabin has eight-way adjustable front seats with two-way headrests, an engine start/stop button and power front windows and two-way moonroof, both with one-touch operation. Most of the 1-Series trims sport Gray Poplar Wood trim, but the 128i convertible has a High-Gloss Black trim.

  • "Rich-looking plastics, lightly padded surfaces, and wood or textured aluminum trim line the interior, and seem in line with prices." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The materials have a high-quality feel and the interior design features all the modern style found throughout the rest of the BMW lineup." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The overall design is a little bland, but certainly functional and unfettered." -- Edmunds


BMW's iDrive interface system has irritated reviewers regardless of which BMW is being tested, and the 2009 1-Series is no different. Several test drivers say the system makes sense once you've mastered it, but the learning curve is too steep.

  • "iDrive makes navigation a no-go option." -- Edmunds
  • "Since you were wondering, we'd rather have our fingernails surgically removed than attempt to work through that system's myriad subtleties." -- Car and Driver
  • "The combination absorbs some audio functions, such as tuning in non-preset stations, complicating what is otherwise a simple procedure." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Lots of people hate the iDrive. To this day, I can't figure out why. My tip: Read the owner's manual. Once you do, you'll realize you can control nearly everything through one knob." -- The Detroit News


In a toss up between the 1-Series' backseat room or cargo space the trunk came out on top. Most reviewers say for a compact vehicle the 1-Series offers generous proportions for stowing gear, in addition to a 60/40 split-folding rear seat for extra room.

  • "The standard split-folding rear seat extends the already-adequate trunk space." -- Car and Driver
  • "The seats fold down in a 60/40 split and provide plenty of room for stuff, as long as the stuff doesn't demand leg room." -- The Detroit News
  • "Trunks are reasonably sized, but the opening is quite small, and it's narrow at the bottom." -- Consumer Guide

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