If there’s one thing that the 1 Series really scores on is headline economy and CO2 for the performance. Engine for engine, the BMW out-powers and out-torques an equivalent rival from the likes of Audi and Alfa Romeo but still manages to match or better them on CO2 emissions and mpg.
All the diesels, bar the 120d in range-topping Sport or Urban trim, sit below the 120g/km threshold, while the more powerful 125d emits 126g/km. And the CO2 rating of the 116i petrol is a more than respectable 132g/km, as is the 118i petrol’s 137g/km. Of course, the extra performance potential of the 125i inevitably has an efficiency cost, but BMW can claim 154g/km and 42.8mpg.
Such impressive economy figures come courtesy of BMW’s extensive roll-out of its Efficient Dynamics technology, including automatic stop-start, low-resistance tyres, brake-energy recuperation, automatically disconnecting ancillary components and, on manual versions, an optimal gearshift indicator.
A 116i may well offer more in terms of outright performance than its nearest rivals, but it is certainly not without a premium. A bottom-rung 116i ES will cost you about £2000 more than an equivalent VW Golf, £1500 more than an entry-level Alfa Romeo Giulietta and £500 more than the closest Audi A3 Sportback. ES spec doesn’t include iDrive, Bluetooth, a USB connector or a 6.5in flat menu screen.