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in 2009 Upscale Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $13,906 - $20,237
Original MSRP: $29,400 - $40,150
MPG: 18 City / 28 Hwy
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Used Car: 2009 BMW 1-Series Review

Review Last Updated: 7/18/12

When it was new, reviewers liked the 2009 BMW 1-Series for its powerful engine choices, nimble handling and posh interior. However, its small cabin means that the 1-Series lacks the practicality of more spacious 2009 upscale small cars.  

The 2009 BMW 1-Series is ranked:

Reviewers said the 2009 BMW 1-Series has a sensational road personality, regardless of which engine you choose. Available as a coupe or convertible, the base 128i has an inline six-cylinder engine that offers 230 horsepower, while the 135i’s turbocharged six-cylinder engine puts 300 horsepower to the rear wheels. Regardless of model, car reviewers agreed that the 2009 1-Series is incredibly fun thanks to ample power, precise steering and strong brakes. The base 128i coupe gets 18/28 mpg city/highway, which is a little less than what some rivals like the 2009 Volkswagen GTI average, but keep in mind that the 1-Series has a six-cylinder engine.

Inside, reviewers said the 1-Series looks clean and elegant. The base model comes with faux-leather seats, dual-zone climate control, a 10-speaker stereo and an auxiliary port. Leather seats, power front seats, BMW Assist, Bluetooth, navigation, HD radio, an iPod interface, satellite radio and a stereo upgrade were optional. That features list is typical for the class, though competitors like the 2009 Volvo S40 and 2009 Acura TSX have more standard tech. The 1-Series has a list of standard safety features that’s typical for the class, and rear parking assist was optional. The 1-Series was never crash tested.

One thing the 1-Series lacks is interior space. Test drivers thought the front seats were comfortable, offering good head- and legroom, but found the back seats cramped. Neither the coupe nor the convertible models have much cargo space, but that’s not surprising for a sporty two-door car.

The 1-Series has a poor reliability score, though that’s true for several competitors. For better reliability, the 2009 Volvo S40 is worth a look. However, if the 2009 BMW 1-Series’ exceptional performance and attractive interior outweigh its potential need for repairs, you should be quite satisfied with the 1-Series.

See the full 2009 BMW 1-Series specs »

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Other Cars to Consider

If the 1-Series is simply too small, consider the 2009 Volkswagen GTI hatchback, which impressed test drivers with its fuel-efficient, turbocharged engine and crisp handling. Inside, the GTI has comfortable front and rear seats and more cargo space than the 1-Series. Neither car earns high marks for reliability, but like the 1-Series, the GTI also offers a well-constructed cabin that reviewers appreciated.

The 2009 Audi A3 also pleased reviewers with its refined performance and high-quality interior, and like the GTI, the A3 is also a lot more practical than the 1-Series. Although the A3’s rear row is cramped, it has more cargo space than the 1-Series and offers available all-wheel drive. The A3 also has exceptional safety scores.

Compare the 1-Series to the GTI and A3 »

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