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A brief history of the BMW 1 Series

BMWs are synonymous with quality, style and power. The BMW 1 Series is the smallest, entry level Beemer you can buy. 

It has a great many stable-mates if you need something bigger, nippier or with more gravitas – from the 2 Series right through to the 8 Series; the i4 M50 electric, the BMW X1 to the BMW X7, and hybrid vehicles like the 225xe Active Tourer Plug-in.

The 1 Series’ popularity has fluctuated in recent years but sales remain fairly steady. This equates to 24,322 newly registered vehicles in 2019 - compared to 77,833 registrations for the Ford Fiesta in the same year). 

It’s a tidy little motor with a top shelf price tag - starting at around £26,150 versus £17,635 for its pole position rival the Fiesta. Let’s take a closer look at what you’re paying for - and its origins.

The BMW tradition

BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Engine Works).  After some false starts, the company has settled on a founding date of 1916, though its origins unofficially go back to 1913. Company. Still headquartered in Munich, Bavaria, it made engines for aircraft, motorcycles and eventually the new fad - horseless carriages. 

BMW's first motorcycle was the R 32 (1923). It was another 10 years before the BMW 303, the company’s first car, rolled off the production line. The company didn’t make any further aircraft engines after the end of the Second World War in 1946.

The BMW R 32’s great grandchild

Some 71 years later, the BMW 1 Series rolled onto the Tarmac. It’s a range of subcompact executive cars with hatchback, coupé and convertible body styles. The range is currently in its 3rd generation and is defined by the hatchback - the coupés and convertibles now belong to the 2 Series.

Initially, 1 Series Beemers had a rear-wheel drive. An all-wheel drive option was introduced in 2012. The standard switched from rear to front-wheel drive in 2019. While 3-door and 5-door configurations were available in earlier generations, the 3rd generation 1 Series is now solely a 5-door hatchback.

1 Series car paint colour profile

These superminis come in 4 different models and a range of car paint colours:

  • Alpine White (Alpinweiss)
  • Misano Blue Metallic
  • Storm Bay Metallic
  • Black Sapphire Metallic
  • Melbourne Red Metallic
  • Skyscraper Grey Metallic

There’s also a choice of stunning upholsteries and trims if you’re buying from new. Whether you’re a BMW 1 Series fan or not, you’ve got to admit - they look classy.

Do second hand BMW 1 Series keep their value?

Yes and no. As with many quality cars, the spec and the extras make a difference, as does a FSH and lower mileage.

When it comes to Beemers and mileage though, you have to bear in mind that these are very good engines. Very. Good. Engines. Still, with all second hand cars, you have to remember that higher mileage means certain parts need replacing - check if they have, or if you need to.

  • Cam belt at 65,000 miles (or 10 years)
  • Belt tensioner at 65,000 miles (or 10 years)
  • Water pump (might as well while you’re doing the cam belt)

We found a tidy silver BMW 1 Series (05 reg) 1.6 Sport Euro for a breezy £1,995. Not a dint, dent or patch of rust in sight, but the cills and door edges need a closer look at the very least. You shouldn’t be too scared of rust - it’s a simple fix when you know how. See our guide to fixing rust for more details. This example had 95,000 on the clock. We’d definitely have checked the cam belt and tensioner too.

Also on the second hand boards was a younger (15 reg) 1.6L Sport in blue for a cool £12,400, which was a bit pricey but a great car. It only had 27,817 on the clock.

BMW car touch up paint

Car paint for the BMW 1 Series is  available in all the colours listed above, plus any manufacturer discontinued paint colours or limited editions.

PaintNuts can mix all these colours for colour match touch up car paint, available as a high precision car touch up paint pen, bottle and brush or car spray paint/aerosol

We can colour-match absolutely any other BMW car paint colour too! Just look up your colour code using your car reg, and off you go.

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