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BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M Review – The Winning Combination

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive 2.0-liter M package Review. The premium compacts segment is a genuine battlefield where auto world’s giants compete with the best creations available that they can offer. With a compact premium, a car manufacturer has a difficult task: to squeeze, as much as possible, the brand’s spirit in a small model, to equip it with technologies and materials worthy of a top builder and make it drivable as a model of such a brand.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M 2.0-liter

BMW 1 Series 2.0 120d xDrive M

BMW 1 Series has been at the second generation for a while. It attempts to correct the main complaints of the former, such as space for rear passengers. The Germans have done this without departing too much from the rest of the range in terms of style and without much loss of identity of the first generation model.

This time, we’ve tested BMW 1 Series 120d version, equipped with the xDrive all-wheel drive system and M accessory package. Through the model tested, BMW put almost all the cards on the table and the hand that this version deals has all the chances to be successful.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M Full Review

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Engine / Transmission 4.5/5

At one time, the name of an engine signified its power bulk ratio as well. Some time has passed since then, and each manufacturer has started to diverge from this “rule.” In this case, we are not talking about any exception, the engine of the BMW 1 Series 120d is represented by a 1,995 cc diesel engine. The unit delivers 184 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 380 Nm ( 280.2 lb-ft) at 1,750 rpm. The tested model benefits from a xDrive train system and power was managed by a six-speed manual transmission.

The tested engine boasts a higher power level than the diesels the competitors offer, although some of them develop a higher torque. The engine itself is worthy of a premium model and its logo placed on the hood, offering both good halves and an appropriate level of sophistication.

The transmission provides a proper range, being very suitable for exploiting the available resources. Its linkage is short as it should be for a BMW, even more for one equipped with an M package.

Unfortunately for our comparison, not all 1 Series competitors have on offer a diesel version of power comparable to four-wheel drive and manual transmission, so the 120d xDrive only gets to be compared with Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI quattro. In comparison, the Munich model presents higher specifications. Strictly at the diesel engine power supply from the offer, BMW can boast another version of 1 Series, the 125d, which provides 218 hp and 450 Nm ( 331.8 lb-ft) from a 2.0-liter diesel.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Fuel Efficiency 5/5

BMW announces a mixed fuel economy of 4.7 liters/100 km (60.1 mpg Imp. / 50 mpg US) for the version we tested, with 5.8 liters/100 km (48.7 mpg Imp. / 40.5 mpg US) in the city and 4.0 liters/100 km extra-urban (70.6 mpg Imp. / 58.8 mpg US).

Its direct rival, the 170 hp Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI quattro version comes with a mixed fuel economy of 5.2 liters/100 km (54.3 mpg Imp. / 45.2 mpg US). The Ingolstadt model displays an efficiency of 6.1 liters/100 km (46.3 mpg Imp. / 38.5 mpg US) urban and an extra-urban of 4.6 liters/100 km (61.4 mpg Imp. / 51.1 mpg US). The other premium compacts with comparable diesel engines were not included (in this comparison) because they cannot be equipped with an all-wheel drive. If it were, Alfa Romeo Giulietta test version would have equaled the version tested at fuel consumption, and VolvoV40 D4 had a higher ranking because its mixed fuel efficiency of 4.3 liters/100 km (65.7 mpg Imp. / 54.7 mpg US). For the sake of statistics, the BMW 1 Series 120d version without the xDrive has a mixed fuel consumption of 4.5 liters/100 km (62.7 mpg Imp. / 52.2 mpg US).

During our test have achieved a city fuel consumption of 6.4 liters (44.1 mpg Imp. / 36.7 mpg US), obtained in an economical driving mode with the Start-Stop system activated, with air conditioning and other comfort items. On the highway, at a constant speed of 120 km/h (75 mph), BMW 1 Series 120 xDrive presents 2,100 rpm in sixth gear and recorded a fuel consumption of 5.7 liters (49.5 mpg Imp. / 41.2 mpg US). On national roads, the model records a perfectly reasonable fuel economy of 5.0 liters (56.5 mpg Imp. / 47.1 mpg US).

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M 2.0-liter diesel engine

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Performance 5/5

The BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive version needs just 7.2 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph), and the Bavarian model can accelerate to a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph). Its rival from Ingolstadt, mentioned earlier, needs 7.9 seconds and can reach a top speed of 222 km/h (138 mph).

The BMW 1 Series 120d model is so fast that it outperforms all its rivals from the premium segment with the same power diesel engines and manual transmission. Basically, the only compact premium diesel faster than the version tested is another BMW 1 Series 125d – 240 km/h (150 mph) top speed and 6.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h (62 mph), but this version cannot be ordered with the xDrive system.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Interior 4.5/5

We already know from previous tests with the BMW 1 Series that the interior of the Munich model has increased greatly in this aspect compared to its predecessor. In the past, we’ve concluded that the 1 Series’s interior is ergonomic and has a sober design in the purest Teutonic style, cheered by the little ornaments that come with the Urban Line and Sport Line design ranges, but the space for rear passengers is modest. Well, after meeting with the tested model, we believe that the M package perfected within this model, ensuring all the items that you expect from a premium model.

The front seats are very well made and offer a very high level of lateral support. Although essentially they are sports seats, they do not torture your back, embracing each passenger with their electrical adjustments and soft materials that form the lining. The black roof specific for models with the M package, along with other little tricks like these, delight any fan of the interior details.

The space offered inside is suitable for four people, even for a longer trip, but the fifth passenger may be slightly uncomfortable because of the transmission, without making short distance trips impossible. The trunk is not the biggest in the segment, but we are talking about a few liters differences between competitors.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M Interior

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Price 2.5/5

The starting price of a BMW 1 Series is 23,436 EUR with VAT included. For the 120d version with xDrive the starting price rises at 34,902 EUR, the same for Sport Line or the Urban Line. From this point of view, we appreciate that BMW did not discriminate in terms of price based on the customer’s selected design lines.

Its direct rival, the Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI 170 hp quattro is offered with three trim levels. Ambition, which starts at 34,450 EUR with VAT included, Attraction, which starts at 33,161 EUR with VAT included and Ambiente, starting from 34,513 EUR with VAT included. Thus, any of the three versions of Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI 170 hp diesel engine, six-speed manual transmission and quattro all-wheel drive system can be ordered has a lower starting price than the BMW, though we are talking about a difference a few hundred dollars.

Equipped with M package for both indoor and outdoor the BMW 1 Series 120d has a higher purchase price of 45,076 EUR with VAT included. Only the optional features exceed the 10,000 EUR limit, hence the serious difference between the model tested and the starting price. The BMW 1 Series M Sport package costs 3,647 EUR with VAT included, according to data the sheet.

The list of optional features of the model included a Professional navigation system, which costs 2,490 EUR with VAT included, along with the Advantage Plus package for 3,100 EUR including VAT. The latter includes comfort features such as parking sensors, rain and light sensors, automatic air conditioning, folding rear seats and more.

We cannot predict how many customers will go as far in the BMW configurator, but many devices from this offer are very attractive, although the total price of the car can quickly rise with just a few “boxes” checked on a form.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Safety 5/5

The second generation of the BMW 1 Series achieved an overall score of five stars on EuroNCAP, with a degree of protection of adult occupants of 91%. The onboard children protection was noted with 83%.

The list of standard safety features in the new BMW Series 1 is complete, including a number of electronic systems for maintaining grip, plus a set of six airbags.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M Technology

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Roadholding 5/5

Since the first meeting with the new BMW 1 Series, we were pleased by its suspension and roadholding. Dry or wet, rain or snow, the Munich compact did not disappoint. When it came time to meet with the version equipped with xDrive, we did not think twice and jumped straight on the road. The result is more than delightful, the model having predictable behavior on the road, with an extremely discreet oversteering instantly canceled by the xDrive in the event of a deficiency in adhesion.

The secret of success is called Adaptive Drive. Even on the Sport+ mode, the car is not overly rigid and the Comfort mode provides suitable conditions on the roads. Sure, the alloy wheels smaller than some would say that are suitable for this model (17 inch) also help this feeling, the large bead tires also help to “cushion” the road nuisance.

The steering is firm whether run on the Sport, Sport Plus, Comfort or Eco Pro, but its behavior and suspension changes when passing through these modes of travel. BMW 1 Series 120d had a variable sports steering system, which offered maxim precision for small movements and further assistance when detecting a wider movement of the steering wheel. The result is an excellent steering that does not make you sweat when sport driving nor gives you the feeling of holding a gaming wheel.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Visibility 4/5

In the visibility chapter, 1 Series suffers a little because of the shape of the rear window. But BMW made sure to equip, optionally of course, this model with parking sensors and a camera.

Side mirrors are larger than those used in the previous generation and this adds a big plus to visibility.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Technology 5/5

BMW 1 Series is equipped with many technological equipments, some of which premiering in the compact segment. BMW Connected Drive allows Internet use in the car, but also applications like Twitter, Facebook or Google Maps Navigation. While most functions are not used daily and are not, therefore, necessarily required those that matter have what it takes to not disappoint and to “provide” as befits a premium car.

The navigation system based on Google Maps can start route guidance from a track established in the car or on the driver’s computer. Drivers can focus early on the question of where to go by using the Street View, which allows displaying images captured by special cameras from Google when mapping an area. Once parked, the driver can still navigate to the destination by using the LastMile, which leads to the destination on foot if they cannot park near where they want to go.

The central display’s size is generous, pleasantly integrated and can show us many things. Thus, from the data from the on-board computer and navigation system map, to elements such as analog indicators for power and torque achieved in real-time, the mobile phonebook and BMW Connected Drive applications, all items can be accessed by the driver. Everything is controlled via the knob located between the two front seats. In other words, iDrive.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M Design

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive Design 3.5/5

BMW 1 Series has changed with the new generation. Both back and front of this model were changed dramatically and the results did not please everyone.

BMW says the car has matured and the maturing human body makes changes similar to those endured by Series 1 on the outside. With mature design came other things associated with this process for people that tend to take better care of their wardrobe. And when you say BMW M package, you cannot be wrong.

The superb shade of the tested model is called Blue Estoril and costs 688 EUR with VAT included.

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M Test Drive

We liked:

  • The interior
  • Steering mechanism

We didn’t liked:

  • Spicy price
  • Exterior design

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M Tech Specs

BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive 2.0-liter M-package
No. doors
Engine type/cylinder
2.0 / L4
Displacement cc
Length mm / in
4324 / 170.2
Maximum power HP (rpm)
184 (4000)
Width mm / in
1765 / 69.5
Torque Nm / lb-ft (rpm)
380 /  280 (1750)
Height mm / in
1440 / 56.7
Top speed km/h / mph
225 / 140
Wheelbase mm / in

2690 / 105.9

Acceleration: 0-100 km/h / 62 mph
7.2 seconds
Weight kg / lbs

1500 / 3307

Fuel tank – liters / gallons
52 / 13.2 US / 11 Imperial
Manual (6-speed)
Cargo – liters / cubic feet
360 / 13.4
BMW 1 Series 120d xDrive M receives in our Review an Overall note of 4.4 out of 5.

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