2005 BMW 1 Series 120d SE 2.0 turbo diesel


Brilliant, but not for everyone


Lots of rattles, which is surprising! Doors flexed over bumps, steering wheel creaks on low speed car park type turns, door trim gives off low amplitude noises from time to time.

Paintwork defects on delivery - rear bumper dimpled, dirt in clear coat.

Paint defects in use - one of the front fog light cut outs has flaking paint and the hatch is streaked after washer fluid ran down it from use several times.

Driver's dash vent came adrift at one corner.

General Comments:

This is my first diesel car ever and I am impressed with the way it drives. Excellent low and mid range torque makes it smooth and relaxed in city driving, while out on the highway, instant poke is available without hesitation.

You have to rev a similarly sized petrol engine hard to give the same type of performance, but this diesel just seems to push the car effortlessly along.

Diesel clatter is evident on start up and while pottering around town or on full bore acceleration, but it's never too obtrusive. On a cruise, it's very quiet, apart from the free rattles BMW installed as standard.

Shame then that BMW saw fit to commit the cardinal sin of cutting corners in the build quality if mine is anything to go by, while several aspects disappoint, namely:

A) Ride is overly firm with the run flat tyres.

B) The tool kit is a laugh - only a double headed screwdriver and a spanner with two diameter heads are provided. And they are wrapped in a cheesy PVC bag. BMW tool kits used to be something to marvel at. Not any more!

C) You cannot check the brake fluid or windscreen washer levels visually as BMW chose to hide both these reservoirs. Why?

D) The temperature gauge has been deleted from the instrument panel. Again, why?

E) The option folding rear armrest is a disaster, being held to the backrest by a flap of upholstery with no retaining screws/hinges, so it just plops down and is not located firmly in place. CHEAP! CHEAP! CHEAP! And nasty, too!

More importantly to families, don't buy this car if rear seat space is of paramount importance. Knee and leg room are tight, thanks to the rear-drive layout. The payoff is in the handling, which is easily the best this class has to offer.

Also, the car can end up pretty expensive if you tick off too many of the options boxes.

As for the controversial styling - you have to be your own judge of that, but I must say that I hated it when I first saw it and now, it has grown on me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th October, 2005

11th Oct 2005, 06:34

Excellent review, thanks for posting. As a long-time BMW fan, I'm thinking of putting my cash into a 1-series in the near future. I can live with the odd bit of slightly cheapo cabin trim, but I certainly won't tolerate squeaks & rattles, or the kind of cost-cutting you describe. The test drive needs to be lengthy and thorough by the sound of it!