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Used BMW 1 Series review: 2004-2011

EXPERT RATING
6
The 1 Series gave aspiring owners a propeller badge but costs mount with the miles. New The blue-and-white spinner emblem of BMW has been one of the more desired badges on the Australian motoring landscape. With so many aspiring to own a BMW, the company expanded its model range so more could join the club. The 3

The 1 Series gave aspiring owners a propeller badge but costs mount with the miles.

New

The blue-and-white spinner emblem of BMW has been one of the more desired badges on the Australian motoring landscape. With so many aspiring to own a BMW, the company expanded its model range so more could join the club.

The 3 Series, once the entry point, grew in size and the price increased so in 2004 out rolled the smaller, cheaper 1 Series, still packed with the features expected of a BMW.

Variants were numerous: practical hatches, sporty coupes and stylish convertibles powered by affordable four-cylinder petrol engines, economical diesels and sizzling sixes.

They all had the familiar and appealing dynamic style of the German brand with the bodies seemingly shrink-wrapped over the chassis. They looked fast standing still.

Engine options kicked off with a modest 1.6-litre, going up to more potent 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre fours, punchy 2.0 turbo diesels and on to a 3.0-litre turbo six.

Even the base four-cylinder models were sure-footed

Transmission choices were five and six-speed manual and six-speed automatic.

BMW's promise was a thrilling driving experience no matter the model, and the 1 Series was no different.

In common with BMWs of the time it was rear-wheel drive. Even the base four-cylinder models were sure-footed, agile and responsive, with the range-topping six-cylinder models providing the excitement.

One downside for some was the firm ride attributed to fitment of the run-flat tyres.

Now

As with any brand BMW is not immune from problems and breakdowns, particularly as the kilometres climb, and the early 1 Series odometers are now showing high readings.

Intending buyers should invest the time and cash to have a specialist in the brand thoroughly check a car.

The promise of a thrilling driving experience means that some BMWs are driven hard. They are well able to cope with that style of driving but it's best to shop around for a well-cared-for example.

Look for oil leaks around the engine, they can cost quite a bit to repair. Check also for leaks from the radiator and cooling setup, as BMW's plastic fittings break down over time and can be costly to replace.

Listen for clunks in the suspension when applying the brakes, or going over bumps, as these signify worn bushes.

It's worth befriending a BMW service specialist if you want to save on servicing and parts.

Expect relatively high brake wear and, post purchase, regular replacement of brake pads and disc rotors.

Servicing is advised by an indicator on the dash — make sure it's working correctly so you don't inadvertently miss services.

The service record preferably should show the work was done by someone familiar with the brand and its foibles.

It's worth befriending a BMW service specialist if you want to save on servicing and parts.

The run-flat tyres not only result in a firm ride that some people find uncomfortable but also are expensive to replace

Some owners fit conventional radials, which are more comfortable and more affordable. When they do they don't always fit a spare, so if you find a car with radials, check the boot for a fifth wheel.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2011 $6,900 $39,380
2010 $6,900 $29,700
2009 $6,500 $25,190
2008 $5,200 $22,660
2007 $4,600 $12,870
2006 $3,700 $11,550
2005 $3,500 $11,110
2004 $4,100 $6,930

View all BMW 1 Series pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$7,990
Based on 2 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$7,990
Highest Price
$9,950

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
120i 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $4,100 – 6,600 2004 BMW 1 Series 2004 120i Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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