in Used Upscale Small Cars $25K and up

Avg. Price Paid: $22,679 - $32,319
Original MSRP: $31,200 - $44,100
MPG: 18 City / 28 Hwy
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2012 BMW 1-Series Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2012 BMW 1-Series meets reviewer expectations in terms of luxury, but keep in mind that the BMW nameplate comes with a steep price tag of about $31,000. That means your coupe or convertible can easily cost $40,000 once you start adding things like heated seats and navigation. If you have the 1-Series in mind, check out your other options. You can equip a Volkswagen GTI with leather seats, a sunroof, navigation, push button start and a premium audio system for less than $30,000.

  • "The cabin is simple and straightforward, just like in the 3-series." -- Car and Driver
  • "Rich-looking plastics, lightly padded surfaces, and wood or textured aluminum trim line the interior, and seem in line with prices. However, one test convertible suffered from an intermittent top-up rattle." -- Consumer Guide
  • "BMW says the cabin controls have been refined, but I’m hard-pressed to see the difference. Cabin materials remain a shade below the 3 Series, and without seat belt extenders, which the 3 Series coupe has, albeit not the best-executed ones, it’s a long reach to the B-pillars to buckle in." -- Cars.com
  • "If you check the box for the optional hard-drive-based navigation system, the infamous iDrive interface comes with it. Don't fret, though, because this latest version has more buttons and a much-improved menu structure. In fact, the reinvented iDrive has shot up to the top of our rankings for such interfaces." -- Edmunds


As with many convertibles and coupes, the BMW 1-Series’s cabin isn’t as spacious as a sedan’s, but overall reviewers are satisfied with the available space in the front and back. Most front seat passengers should be comfortable. One test driver notes that the driver may have problems with rear visibility in convertible models thanks to the soft-top’s design.

The front seats will be comfortable for most drivers, but the rear row is a different story. The narrow rear row can fit two adults, but they’re likely to bump shoulders. Children, however, should be comfortable. If you don’t plan on carrying passengers, the rear row is great for storing luggage that doesn’t fit into the small trunk.

  • "We had three folks to go riding but couldn't convince anyone to take a day trip in the back seat." -- Boston Globe
  • "There's enough headroom and legroom for an average-size adult to sit behind another average-size adult, but any front-seat occupant over 6 feet tall will delete rear legroom behind them. The cabin is quite narrow, so two adults sit shoulder-to-shoulder. Elbow space is very tight in the coupe and even less in the convertible, as its sidewalls are angled in to make room for the top." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Although the BMW 1 Series is technically a four-seater, the rear seats are significantly more cramped than in the 3 Series coupe, so they're best left to cargo or those of smaller stature. The coupe's decent-sized trunk holds 13 cubic feet of luggage; in the convertible, there are 8.5 cubes left over when the top is stowed." -- Edmunds

Interior Features

BMW hasn’t released a complete standard features list for the 2012 1-Series, but so far, we know that there have been a few interior updates. Inside, BMW added new switches and controls.

The 2011 model came standard with auxiliary input radio, HD radio, a USB port, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an on-board computer that tells you about your vehicle’s oil life and mileage left before the next service appointment and other information such as remaining fuel, the temperature outdoors and spark plug and micro-filter status. Expect these features to come standard on the 2012 model.

The 2011 1-Series coupe started at about $31,000, so don’t expect the price for the 2012 model to drop much, if at all. That’s a lot of money to pay for a coupe, so if you’re on a budget, but still want a lot of features, try the Volkswagen GTI. Not only does it have more cargo space and comparable performance, but it also starts at about $24,000, which means you can add leather seats, a sunroof, navigation, a premium Dynaudio sound system push button start and a 300-watt amplifier that’s a part of the Autobahn package. With these options, you’ll still pay under $30,000.

Reviewers also find that BMW’s iDrive system is easier to use, and they’re thrilled with the improvement. iDrive integrates navigation, communication, entertainment, phonebook and BMW assist into one system that is featured on the dashboard.

  • "BMW's latest iDrive system is far easier to negotiate than in previous 1-Series models. Some testers say it's simpler to use than the standard non-iDrive interface, particularly when controlling an external digital-music player. Some functions still require a long look away from the road, however. BMW's odd turn-signal actuation takes getting used to." -- Consumer Guide
  • "A combination iPod/USB adaptor was $400. That's more expensive than an iPod!" -- Boston Globe
  • "An improved version of the infamous i-Drive system controls the audio, HVAC, and optional navigation system, and operation is almost intuitive now, though still requiring more clicks, pushes, and twists than a simple direct control system." -- Left Lane News
  • "The interior of the 1 Series is generally competitive with its rivals in terms of materials quality, but hard plastics are more prevalent here than in the 3 Series. Nevertheless, most of the controls are straight out of the standard BMW playbook and are easy to use." -- Edmunds


Interior specifications haven’t been released for the 2012 BMW 1-Series, but with so few changes to the interior and exterior for the 2012 model year, the 1-Series should have the same cargo capacities. The 2011 coupe offers 10 cubic feet of trunk space, and the convertible has 8 cubic feet. Neither number is impressive for the class.

If you’re after performance and utility, test the Volkswagen GTI. This hatchback is available in two- and four-door body styles and offers 15.1 cubic feet of space with the two-door and 14.7 cubic feet with the four-door.

  • "Trunks are reasonably sized, but the opening is quite small, and it's narrow at the bottom. Convertibles lose about 1.6 cubic feet when the top is stowed, an area partitioned off at the top rear of the compartment by a fold-down cover." -- Consumer Guide

Next Steps: 2012 BMW 1-Series

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