BMW 1 Series Convertible 120i SE Auto 2dr Car Review - February 2012

List Price: £29,345
Tax Band: G
Insurance Group: 27
MPG: 40.4
CO2: 163
0-62 Mph: 9.0 secs
BHP: 170 BHP
Range: 471 miles
CarSite Verdict:  3.25/5
The price of the 120i is pretty high for what it offers and although handling and fuel economy are good, the performance does not match the price tag. However, the SE does offer a good level of standard equipment. The car is not that attractive and offers rather cramped leg space for the rear seat passengers.

PROS:  The 2.0 litre engine is incredibly efficient, resulting in low running costs. The handling is controlled and stable making it excellent for B-roads and the SE trim offers a lot more extras than the ES and Sport options.

CONS:  For the price of the car, you might expect a bit more speed. The engine needs to be revved quite hard to perform well and the space in the back is cramped, making longer journeys uncomfortable.

Behind the Wheel

The 170bhp engine delivers 155lb-ft of torque at 4250 rpm, allowing the car to get from 0-62 mph in 9.0 seconds and on to a top speed of 135mph. Although these figures all sound fine, the 120i SE Auto doesn't feel that fast and could really do with a bit more power. The ride is also very uncomfortable.

Despite these drawbacks, the automatic 'box is excellent and the car handles beautifully. In terms of refinement, the engine is smooth and quiet, with hushed road and suspension noise making the cabin a peaceful place to be.

Looks & Equipment

The 120i SE Auto's interior is stylish and functional but lacks the out-and-out luxury you'd expect from a Beemer. That being said, the appearance is an improvement over previous models which received a lot of criticism for their styling.

In terms of equipment, the SE trim comes with alloy wheels, MP3 connectivity, climate control, rear parking sensors and a stereo system as standard features. Optional extras are available, with leather seats costing £1,115, Bluetooth connectivity priced at £400 and satellite navigation costing £1,550.

The iDrive control system is a great benefit of the 1 Series but will take some getting used to. BMW’s 'Efficient Dynamics' technology reduces the amount of energy wasted by controlling the braking, electric power steering and integrating an automatic stop-start function into the car.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

On top of the criticism about appearances, previous models were also condemned for their restricted boot space and rear seating. An elongated body shape is found on the 1 Series as a way to address this but unfortunately the model still comes up short. Rear legroom in particular is cramped and whilst the boot capacity is improved it is less than spacious.

For the driver, plenty of adjustment in the seat means that the front of the car is fairly comfortable.

Despite the slight problems with practicality, the 1 Series is a well crafted and engineered car and should offer long-term reliability. The car rated well in the 2011 JD Power survey which combines with a three year warranty with unlimited mileage to give customers high levels of confidence in their purchase.

Driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags are all fitted as standard, with traction control and dynamic stability control also featuring as part of the car's safety kit.

Value for Money

The 1 Series SE convertible is expensively priced at £28,635 but running costs are much lower than average due to the 'Efficient Dynamics' technology. This gives the car combined fuel economy of 40.4 mpg whilst CO2 emissions remain fairly mid-range at 163g/km.

The SE trim offers a fair amount of equipment but the car is just not worth the price - even with the excellent fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions taken into account.

BMW 1 Series Convertible 120i SE Auto 2dr Car Review - by 
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