Although list prices on the new 1 Series make it look a little more expensive than an equivalent A-Class or A3 Sportback, being the new hatch on the block it brings slightly stronger residual values with it to market than the established rivals have – and that makes monthly finance prices quite competitive.
Equipment levels are very respectable, so that even if you don’t feel inclined to spend much on options, you’ll get a car with touchscreen infotainment, LED headlights, parking sensors all round, cruise control and limited connected services. The car’s distinguishing technology is, of course, mostly optional – although the full wi-fi hotspot functionality, wireless smartphone charging and head-up display are at least corralled into a reasonably priced £1500 Technology Pack. Likewise, its fully digital instruments, enlarged premium infotainment system, premium audio system and fully connected services are gathered into a second one. They’re features you’re expected to pay extra for on most cars in this class.
Lab-test carbon emissions on the 118i are very competitive with like-for-like rivals from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and VW, too. Meanwhile, plumping for a dual-clutch automatic rather than a manual will save fleet drivers a couple of per cent on their benefit-in-kind liability, which is more than it’s worth on either the like-for-like A-Class or Golf.