BMW 1 Series size and dimensions guide

BMW 1 Series size and dimensions guide

The BMW 1 Series is a great all-rounder. It’s got style, practicality and can handle the town easily too. But are you wondering if the boot is going to be big enough or whether it will fit in your garage?

This guide covers the dimensions of both the first (2004-2011) and second generation (2011-) BMW 1 Series, including width, length and interior dimensions.

Exterior dimensions

Unlike its competitor, the Audi A3, the 1 Series has the same exterior dimensions for both the 3 door and the 5 door hatchbacks.

The first generation BMW is just 1mm longer (so little to no difference really) to the equivalent A3, but the second generation is actually 90mm longer. This second generation BMW 1 Series is actually the longest hatchback when you compare it to its rivals at Audi and Mercedes too.

From mirror to mirror, the second generation BMW 1 Series expands a little from its predecessor, and is 50mm wider.

The height of the second generation 1 Series depends on the type of suspension you have fitted. Usually, it’s about 1440mm off the floor, but the M Sport model and the M135i is 10mm lower, so around the 1430mm mark.

Interior dimensions

When you get behind the wheel, the headroom is pretty similar to all of the 1 Series rivals, and it comes up top with back-seat passengers as space stays the same for both the 3 door and the 5 door version – something the A3 can’t brag about!

The second generation has a little more head room all round compared to the first, with the most noticeable difference in the front by 52mm.

If you’re looking for more shoulder room (horizontal space) then surprisingly you’ll find more room in the front in the first generation of 1 Series by 23mm. In the back, you only get a small difference between the two generations, with 3mm more room in the second.

Boot Space

When the rear seats are up, the boot space in the second generation 1 Series is 360 litres, which is 20 litres less than the 5-door A3, and 5 litres less than the 3-door version. But keep in mind that this is significantly greater than the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which has only 341 litres.

When the seats are down, the 1 Series capacity increases to 1200 litres, and access to the boot is low and wide, so it’s easy to load up. In the first generation model, the boot capacity is 30 litres smaller when seats are up, and when the seats are down, it loses 50 litres when you compare it with the latest generation.

Turning Circle

Since the 1 Series is rear-wheel drive, you might expect it to have a smaller turning circle. However, at just short of 11 metres, the Audi A3 can run rings around the 1 Series with a turning circle of just 10 metres!

Fuel tank capacity

On the first generation 1 Series, the diesel models have a 53 litre fuel tank, 2 litres larger than the petrol versions. In the second generation, the fuel tank is 52 litres across the board.

The most efficient model is the 116d EfficientDynamics, which achieved a combined 74.3mpg in testing conditions. This means that in theory, you could have a fuel range of nearly 850 miles on one tank of fuel.

But don’t bank on getting that efficiency from the performance models, the M135i or M140i, in fact, it’s efficiency is likely to be less than half, but we’re sure the extra power will make up for it!


Why does weight matter? Well, in theory, a lighter car will require less effort from the engine to move it, which means you’ll get better fuel economy.

The 1 Series’ weight is average for its class, but it gets heavier as you go up the range, thanks to bigger engines and more on-board equipment. In the first generation, there is typically a 10kg difference between the 3-door and 5-door versions, whilst in the second generation, there is at most a 5kg difference.

If you’re after your perfect 1 Series, then we have plenty in stock across CarShop!

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