BMW 1 Series 130i 3-door hatch Review
1 for the road

Story by Raymond Lai, pictures by Azfar Hashim
15 May 2008

Four years after it was first introduced, Singaporean motorists will finally have a taste of BMW’s little baby. But does it have what it takes, to begin with? Will the element of "big engine in compact body" work well enough to entice buyers here? 

Is it the 1?

Remember the BMW Compact from the mid-1990s? Back then, the Compact was the cheapest way to enjoy the fruits of motoring with the blue propeller brand. It was hugely popular with the aspiring set, despite the fact that the Compact was a compromised product due to the use of components from a previous generation model. 

The original Compact died a slow death here even though a second generation was introduced in other markets later on. Since the Compact’s demise, our local motorists have been deprived of an entry level model that sits below the perennial 3 Series until now.

BMW fans are obviously aware that the 1 Series was introduced back in 2004, but it was never officially available here until now.

Recently launched, all four body styles of the 1 Series will be available here – the five-door hatchback, three-door hatchback, coupe and convertible. And unlike the rest of the BMW range here though, the 1 will be available with a single engine option for each body style. 

With the twin turbo 135i unavailable here (unfortunately), the range topping engine for our market is the 3-litre straight-six in the 130i three-door hatchback.

It’s not rocket science to label the 1 Series’ styling as awkward - upfront, the headlamps look like they’re plucked from the larger 3 Series and are too big for the petite 1 Series, which ends up giving it a rather cross-eyed face. At the sides, Chris Bangle’s “flame surfacing” lines and curves are highly evident on this model…and it is a matter of an acquired taste. Uncannily, the rear is a tad nondescript, even though Hyundai’s recent i30 seems to have been inspired by the 1’s rump.

We think the three-door hatch body style looks the better proportioned among the available body styles, but it is still far from being a looker.


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Engine Capacity 2996cc
Engine Type Inline 6
Bore x Stroke (85 x 88)mm
Power 265bhp @ 6650rpm
Torque 315Nm @ 2750rpm
Power to Weight 182.8 bhp per ton


Acceleration 6.2s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 11.8 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FR


Body Type 3 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4239 x 1748 x 1421) mm
Wheelbase 2660 mm
Kerb Weight 1450 kg
Boot Capacity 500 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 53 L