Nice engine, shame the BMW’s ride is just so bumpy…

Mileage 5133
Forecast CPM 28.8p
Actual CPM 33.3p
The 1-series encourages swift driving thanks to a great engine and steering. Even more of a shame then that the ride doesn’t keep up. It’s upset by any kind of bump, and is just too hard.
Mileage 4817
Forecast CPM 29.1p
Actual CPM 33.3p
Finally got to grips with the iPod socket in our BM, and it’s great. It takes some getting used to as to which menu does what, and you can’t choose playlists, but it still beats CDs
20 AUGUST 2007
Mileage 3354
Forecast CPM 29.1p
Actual CPM 33.3p
It seems an obvious oversight, but there’s no dash light to confirm the cruise control’s engaged. It’s a distracting moment checking it’s kicked in, and every other car has one.

Main Report

It’s fair to say that our 120d is provoking plenty of comment – both good and bad – from everyone who gets behind the wheel.

The eco-tech is gaining the plaudits, with the stop-start system getting a proper work-out in London rush-hour traffic once the driver learns to knock the car out of gear and disengage the clutch. It’s a function that makes editor Tristan Young “feel very righteous” as the engine cuts itself automatically, firing again in the blink of an eye as soon as you brush the clutch pedal. The only downside is that it’s noticeable from the outside when the engine stops, and I’m paranoid the outside world thinks I’ve either stalled, or that I’m manually stopping the engine.


There are also some smaller things that make the 120d good to live with, like the steering wheel, which is great. It’s small but perfectly formed, and one of the nicest on the market. The seats are also good, though not the most user-friendly to adjust. To raise the seat height you have to lift yourself off the chair and hover uncomfortably while you pull the lever.

Other criticisms cover question marks over the looks. The three-door is a better looking car than the five-door, but still not what you’d describe as pretty. And the ride meets with universal derision. Though the 1-series handles sweetly and offers good body control, it’s at the expense of any kind of ride comfort, probably not helped by the run-flat tyres with their more rigid sidewalls that don’t absorb bumps. The 1-series isn’t a family car, either, thanks to little rear space and a pretty small boot, although the pay-off is compact dimensions that suit my urban bachelor lifestyle.

The engine, which is almost at the 3000-mile mark, is a real sweetie, offering more than enough power when you consider the economy figure that’s levelled off to a 38.3mpg average. It has dropped slightly though, compared with the early figures that were up towards the mid-40s during the light-footed running-in period.

So, everyday life is highlighting the goods and the bads of living with BMW‘s baby, and so far the positives are winning out.