Three-door BMW deals

The 1 Series hatchback is the car you need if you’re after a recent three-door BMW. Here are some of the best deals available now

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Apr 14, 2022

When it comes to doors, less can be more. Okay, technically that should be ‘fewer’, but you know what we’re getting at. Stick a three-door BMW alongside a five-door, and you’ll see that three is the magic number.

The 1 Series hatchback is your only choice if you’re after a relatively new three-door BMW, specifically the first- and second-generation models. That’s because as well as moving to a front-wheel-drive setup (the previous versions were rear-wheel-drive - a characteristic more commonly found in sporty cars), the current BMW 1 Series is now five-door only. For these two reasons alone, opting for an older three-door BMW 1 Series makes a lot of sense.

It looks sportier, which gives it a more youthful image, and because the five-door is more common, you’ll enjoy a degree of exclusivity by choosing the model with fewer doors. The three-door is no less spacious in the back and the boot is the same size, so if your regular passengers don’t mind clambering into the back, this is the stylish option.

Launched in 2011, the second-generation 1 Series remained on sale until 2019, when it was replaced by the current model. During that time, rivals included the Mercedes A-Class, Audi A3, Volvo V40, Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. As the only rear-wheel-drive car of this type, the 1 Series is the most fun, feeling sporty and enjoyable to drive, even in its most basic form.

There’s a wide range of engines to choose from, but there’s no need to look beyond the basic options. The petrol range kicks off with the 118i, which uses a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine also found in the Mini. The 120i and 125i share a 2.0-litre petrol engine, while the 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine in the M140i delivers the kind of sound and acceleration to rival a Porsche 911.

For fuel economy, it’s hard to beat the 116d, which should deliver around 50mpg in daily use - or much more than that with gentle driving. The 118d is just as economical and significantly quicker, while the 120d and 125d are even faster. Look out for the 120d xDrive, which provides the reassurance of four-wheel-drive in exchange for a modest decrease in fuel economy.

Here we’ve focused on cars registered after the update in 2015, which improved the styling, overhauled the engine lineup and introduced new tech. Read on to discover more about the SE, SE Business, Sport, M Sport and M Sport Shadow Edition trim levels, as well as the M140i and M140i Shadow Edition hot hatchbacks.

Best three-door BMW deals

BMW 1 Series SE

There’s nothing ‘entry-level’ about the SE trim, although you are limited to the 118i and 116d engines. Standard equipment includes 16-inch ‘star’ alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch colour media display with Bluetooth, a digital radio and CD player, automatic air-conditioning and cloth seats.

You also get keyless start, a choice of driving modes (Eco, Comfort and Sport), front fog lights, automatic wipers, automatic headlights and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Many buyers chose to upgrade to one of the higher trim levels, so be patient if you’re after an SE model.

Used BMW 1 Series SE

BuyaCar prices Limited stock

BMW 1 Series SE Business

For a modest increase of £100 on the 118i and around £350 on the 116d when new, buyers could upgrade to the SE Business model, which came with a few desirable additions.

This added cruise control, LED headlights and rear parking sensors to the mix, so you could say that upgrading to the higher trim level for such a small premium was a smart piece of business…

Used BMW 1 Series SE Business

BuyaCar prices Limited stock

BMW 1 Series Sport

This is where the three-door BMW 1 Series starts to get very interesting; little wonder that Sport is the most popular trim level on BuyaCar. Not only does the Sport model look more appealing, but it also comes loaded with more kit as standard.

On the outside, the 17-inch alloy wheels do a better job of filling the wheel arches, while the kidney grille with extra-wide high-gloss black vertical slats adds a touch of class to the front end. There’s also a black high-gloss finisher on the back bumper and dark chrome exhaust finisher.

Inside, the Sport model gets ambient lighting, sport seats, a multi-function leather steering with red stitching, sport instrument cluster with red highlights, black interior trim with red finisher and BMW tread plates. Extra equipment extends to remote control with an integrated key and a speed limiting function.

BMW 1 Series Sport
Used BMW 1 Series Sport

BuyaCar prices from £10,290
Monthly finance from £0*

BMW 1 Series M Sport

The M Sport trim delivers the styling of a high-performance M model but without the high purchase price and associated running costs. It looks particularly striking as a three-door BMW, which is great, as it’s likely to be cheaper than the five-door.

The M Sport makeover includes 18-inch alloy wheels, M Aerodynamics bodykit, M badges on the side, high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim and chrome exhaust trim. The ventilated brake discs and M Sport suspension prove that the makeover is more than skin deep, too.

On the inside, the M Sport package includes cloth/Alcantara upholstery, sport seats, sport instrument panel with red highlight, anthracite headlining, M gear lever, M tread plates and M multi-function steering wheel with speed limiting function.

BMW 1 Series M Sport
Used BMW 1 Series M Sport

BuyaCar prices from £11,500
Monthly finance from £0*

BMW 1 Series M Sport Shadow Edition

Upgrading from the M Sport to the M Sport Shadow Edition cost around £2,000 when new, but the difference will be smaller when buying a used 1 Series via BuyaCar. As upgrades go, the Shadow Edition kicks the ‘standard’ M Sport into the shade.

Highlights include black 18-inch alloy wheels, darkened rear lights with LED light bars, dark chrome exhaust trim, tinted windows and high-gloss black kidney grille. Cruise control, rear parking sensors and an excellent Harman Kardon audio system complete the package.

BMW 1 Series M Sport Shadow Edition
Used BMW 1 Series M Sport Shadow Edition

BuyaCar prices from £16,649
Monthly finance from £0*

BMW M140i

It would be wrong to view this as a trim level, because the M140i is a model in its own right. A performance car of genuine merit, thanks to a wonderful 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine producing 340hp and a musical engine note when worked hard. It was a replacement for the older and equally good M135i, which you might find on BuyaCar, too.

The car sits 10mm lower than the standard 1 Series, with the suspension stiffened to improve the handling around corners. BMW also upgraded the brakes, steering, tyres and exhaust to turn this into a genuine cut-price hatchback rival to cars like the Porsche 911.

Further enhancements include 18-inch light alloy wheels, sport automatic transmission with launch control, dual-zone climate control, Dakota leather upholstery, extended lighting and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Used BMW M140i

BuyaCar prices Limited stock

BMW M140i Shadow Edition

The Shadow Edition isn’t any faster than the ‘standard’ M140i, but it comes with an extra helping of desirable kit. The list includes grey 18-inch alloy wheels, darkened rear lights with LED bars, LED headlights with darkened surround, tinted windows, rear parking sensors, cruise control and Harman Kardon audio system.

In addition to the specification mentioned for each model, look out for cars fitted with some of the option packs. Though expensive when new, they add little to the price of a used car, so you’ll be getting more for your money.

Take the Interior Comfort pack, which includes an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone climate control and extended lighting. Or the BMW Professional Media upgrade, which includes an excellent upgraded sat-nav system with 3D mapping.

Used BMW M140i Shadow Edition

BuyaCar prices Limited stock

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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