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2011 BMW 1-Series Review

The 2011 BMW 1-Series leads the class with top-notch performance, but its meager passenger and cargo space make it less practical than some 2011 small cars.

Pros & Cons

  • Outstanding performance
  • High-quality interior
  • Tiny back seat
  • Little cargo space in convertible

New for 2011

  • New engine improves fuel economy on 135i
  • New automated manual transmission available on 135i




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 7.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 BMW 1-Series Overview

Available as a coupe or convertible, the 2011 BMW 1-Series doesn’t offer the interior space of some rival used cars. However, few of those competitors are as much fun behind the wheel. Reviewers liked both the 230-horsepower 128i and the 300-horsepower 135i.  "Although the 135i with the top-of-the-line powertrain gets most of the attention, the 128i is still plenty of fun to drive, particularly with the manual transmission coupled to its free-revving six," said Edmunds. Because it offers powerful engines, the 1-Series’ fuel economy ratings are lower than rivals’, like the 2011 Volkswagen GTI. The base 128i averages 18/28 mpg city/highway with either a manual or automatic transmission.

Paired with that pocket-rocket performance is a classy interior that impressed test drivers. The cabin comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-speaker stereo and HD radio. Leather seats, a heated steering wheel, USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, navigation and an upgraded stereo were optional when it was new. While the front seats have plenty of room, the 1-Series’ rear seat is best for passengers on short trips or as a refuge for overflow luggage. The base coupe has good cargo space for its size, but the convertible model has less.

See the full 2011 BMW 1-Series specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you want to stand out, the 2011 Volvo C30 will attract stares with its retro-inspired glass hatchback. Like the 1-Series, the C30 isn’t for shoppers who need a spacious back seat, but it does have more cargo space than the 1-Series. While the C30 can’t match the 1-Series’ performance, the C30 offers great safety scores.

The 2011 Volkswagen GTI isn’t as powerful as the 1-Series, but reviewers were still impressed with its controlled steering and responsive engine. The GTI offers more passenger and cargo space, as well as excellent safety scores and better fuel economy.

Compare the 1-Series to the C30 and GTI »


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