What is it?
The car to lend its shape to Jeremy's favourite M car of recent years - the 1-Series M. Alas, that's no more. Luckily, the rest of the range is almost as brilliant. The ride could be more comfortable, but the 123d is a fantastic real world car.
For 75 per cent of the time the 1-Series Coupe is pure BMW: nice steering, proper rear-wheel drive feel and a proper antidote to FWD hot hatchery. But start to really push and the lack of a locking rear diff can start to show (as per many BMWs) as the inside wheel spins away the power. Mind you, the traction and stability systems still get a relatively light workout - this is a nicely balanced, well-sorted car.
Run-flat tyres are the bugbear of many already fairly taut BMWs, and the 1-Series Coupe is no different. Unfortunately, not being blessed with Germanic levels of road repair, British buyers feel every pothole right in the colon. Can be a touch stiff for serious long distance cruising, though you do get used to it fairly quickly.
The Coupe One comes with six engine choices - three diesels and three petrol. There's the ultra-frugal 118d (a 2-litre) with 143bhp, the perfectly rapid 120d (the same 2.0-litre) with 177bhp, 142mph and the confusingly titled 123d - a 2-litre twin-turbo with 204bhp, 147mph top speed and a seven second 0-62mph time. All Golf GTI owners just winced at that one. Petrols come in 120i and 125i four and six-pot flavours. And if you don’t want to just beat hot hatches but humiliate them, there’s the 135i. Three litres and two sequential turbos that spell 306bhp, a limited 155mph top end and 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds. Quick, and discreet with it.
On the inside
It's basically the same layout as the boggo 1-Series from the driver's seat, so it's fine, if not the best that BMW have on offer. All the materials feel of decent quality and there's nothing iffy about the build, but it's simple rather than striking, solid rather than showy.
You bought this for the boot then? Well 370-litres is okay (ish), but the hatch is way more practical. There's plenty of room for the front seat passengers, rear travellers fair less well, as in die fast and cruelly. Weirdly, the inch chop on the Coupe compared to the stock 1-Series makes it's presence felt quickly in space terms. An inch. Who'd have thought it?
Both the diesels make good sense financially; you’ll get mid-fifties mpg out of the 123d (that’s good) and nearer 60mpg out of the 120d apparently (that’s spectacular). The tax and C02 burden runs to 128g/km and 10-percent on the single turbo, 138g/km and 15 percent on the biturbo diesel. The 135i? It pumps out 220g/km and 32-percent, insurance group 17 (not bad considering the performance), but forget the claimed 30.7mpg unless you drive like a nancy of the highest order.