2013 BMW 1 Series Review

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful, fuel-efficient engines
  • rear-wheel drive
  • nimble handling
  • solid construction
  • convertible available.
  • Cramped backseat
  • mediocre interior materials
  • less-than-svelte styling.
Other years
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List Price
$11,888

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Its styling won't suit everyone, but the 2013 BMW 1 Series undeniably offers a very appealing combination of performance and refinement.

Vehicle overview

Not even BMW has been immune from the automotive industry's current trend of each model-year's successor creeping, growing or inflating nearly to the size of the next-larger class. That's why the 2013 BMW 1 Series is such a gem; at about the size of the original 3 Series, the coupe or convertible 1 Series just might be the last BMW that still upholds the nimble characteristics that once defined the entire BMW brand.

Under the hood there is more proof that the 1 Series is a genuine BMW. With the same superb set of inline-6 engines as the BMW 3 Series, the thrills are there for the taking. Transmission choices are also first-rate, with a choice of a six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or a sophisticated seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual.

While Americans are still getting used to the idea of premium-branded compact cars, there's growing support for buying small, but buying well. The 2013 BMW 1 Series might seem expensive when compared to a Hyundai Genesis Coupe or 2013 Nissan 370Z, especially if you tick each of the option packages. But if you think of the 1 Series as the only rear-wheel-drive compact from Europe, then it begins to look rather exceptional.

Still, you owe it to yourself to cross-shop a few other coupe/convertible models before making such a big decision. Consider an all-wheel-drive Audi TT, a front-drive Mini Cooper, and even flex a little American muscle with a Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger or Ford Mustang. Compared to any of the above, we think you'll sense the extraordinary quality and dynamism of the 1 Series.

2013 BMW 1 Series models

The 2013 BMW 1 Series comes in two-door coupe or convertible body styles, both of which are available in 128i, 135i and 135is configurations.

The 128i comes equipped with 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control, eight-way manual front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, premium vinyl upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack. The 128i convertible adds different-style wheels, a fully lined power-folding soft top and a special convertible mode for the climate control.

Aside from its more powerful turbocharged engine, the 135i adds a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, eight-way power front seats, adaptive xenon headlights, an aerodynamic kit, and (on the coupe) a sunroof. The top-tier 135is further benefits from a yet more powerful turbocharged engine, sport front seats, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters (when ordered with an automatic transmission) and specialized exterior and interior trim.

The Premium package adds keyless ignition/entry, auto-dimming mirrors, interior ambient lighting, satellite radio, leather seating, and to the otherwise lacking 128i coupe, it further adds the 135's power front seats and a sunroof. When the 128i is ordered with the Premium package, adaptive xenon headlights with auto-leveling are available.

The 128i and 135i Cold Weather packages include a heated steering wheel and front seats. The 128i and 135i M Sport packages essentially mimic the extra features that are standard on the 135is.

Finally, the Technology packages adds to all trim levels a navigation system, BMW Apps with online information services, smartphone integration, voice commands and BMW Assist (concierge).

Unbundled, stand-alone options available on all trims include rear parking sensors, automatic high-beams, BMW Assist and a Harman Kardon surround audio system. For the 135i and 135is, BMW's variable-ratio active steering is available.

2013 Highlights

The 2013 BMW 128i and 135i are essentially unchanged and receive increased standard equipment and shuffle packages and options. In lieu of the now discontinued 1 Series M, BMW has introduced the 135is trim to either coupe or convertible models.

Performance & mpg

The rear-wheel-drive BMW 1 Series offers a choice of three different 3.0-liter inline-6 engines. The naturally aspirated 128i produces 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. In Edmunds performance testing, a manual-equipped 128i coupe sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. A convertible (300 pounds heavier), also with a manual transmission, posted a 6.7-second time. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 128i coupe is 18 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined regardless of transmission. The 128i convertible earns 18/27/21 with the automatic and 19/28/22 with the manual transmission, however.

The 135i's turbocharged inline-6 engine produces 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (known as DCT) is optional. In our testing, a 135i coupe with the manual transmission sprinted to 60 mph from a standstill in an impressively quick 5 seconds flat and 5.5 seconds for a convertible. However, that number rose to 6.2 seconds for a 135i with DCT. EPA-estimated fuel economy is actually better than the 128i's, achieving 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway/23 mpg combined with the manual and 18/25/21 with the automated manual transmission. The manual-equipped convertible gets 19/28/22.

The new-for-2013 135is has a modified version of the 135i's engine that produces 320 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. Though we've yet to test it, we suspect it will easily run to 60 mph in under 5 seconds when equipped with the manual transmission. The seven-speed DCT is also available.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes (with brake drying and standby feature), traction and stability control and hill-start assist for manual-equipped cars are all standard on the 2013 BMW 1 Series. Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on the coupe; convertibles come equipped with front-seat side airbags that extend higher to protect occupants' heads. The convertible also features pop-up rollover hoops.

In Edmunds brake testing, a 128i convertible stopped from 60 mph in 115 feet. However, a 135i Coupe with the standard 18-inch wheels and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in an excellent 107 feet.

Driving

It'll take a real purpose-built sporting machine to outrun the 2013 BMW 1 Series on a winding road. Though some hard-core drivers might find that the car's handling isn't as rewarding as M-badged BMWs when driven enthusiastically, the vast majority of owners will find joy in the responsive steering, excellent body control and great outward visibility. The ride of the 1 Series isn't quite as refined as that of a 3 Series either, but it's quite good relative to rivals.

Even the base 128i's naturally aspirated inline-6 is a gem of an engine, sweeping from idle to redline on a smooth wave of turbine-like power. With their turbocharged inline-6 engines, the 135i and 135is crank up the power while retaining every bit of that characteristic smoothness.

Interior

The interior of the 1 Series is generally competitive with its rivals in terms of materials quality. Although there are still more hard plastics than we'd like in a BMW, the optional aluminum or wood trim dress things up a bit.

Most of the controls are straight out of the standard BMW playbook and are easy to use. The base seats are notably lacking in support given this car's performance potential, so we strongly recommend anteing up for the M Sport package and its superb, manually adjustable sport seats that some say are better than the power sport seats. The convertible's optional sun-reflective leather seating does a remarkable job of keeping your butt from roasting.

Although the subcompact BMW 1 Series is technically a four-seater, the rear seats are significantly smaller than those in the 3 Series coupe, so they're best left to cargo or those of smaller stature. The coupe's decent-sized trunk holds 13 cubic feet of luggage; in the convertible, there are 8.5 cubes left over when the top is stowed.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2013 BMW 1 Series.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Traded a Z4 for a 128i Convertible
danwatson,10/20/2013
128i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
I bought a 2003 Z4 ten years ago and thoroughly enjoyed driving it for 55,000 miles. At the age of 52, it was a great purchase. At 62, with bad knees, and 6'3", it became more difficult to get in and out of. And, being a roadster with a small trunk, it wasn't good for more than a quick overnight trip. So, we traded it on a '13 128i convertible and so far, it's a wise decision. Had to special order it since I wanted a manual transmission and was willing to pay only for the options I wanted. Only 1000 miles so far, so it's too soon to determine reliability. The fit and finish is typical BMW qaulity and the engine and transmission are smooth. UPDATE: I've now owned the 128i convertible for three years. It's got 16,600 miles, all trouble free. It's still fun to drive and I got another compliment on its appearance just the other day. It's Vermillion Red with a black top and tan interior. This is not my primary driver, but now that I'm retired, it does get driven more. It's a good combination of being a true sports car, but with more room than a roadster. The 2 series BMW should provide the same benefits since it's basically the same car with a different number and Engine. Update: Five years of ownership and I still love the car. It's approaching 30,000 miles and still no problems. But, because of the cost of repairs I purchased an extended warranty that will cover it for 10 years. This car replaced a 10 year old Z4 I purchased new in 2003. Both were outfitted similarly with a manual transmission, and not a lot of bells and whistles or technology. What was surprising was that the 128 was only a few hundred dollars more than what I paid for the Z4 10 years earlier. I've now owned the 128i convertible for 7 years and 33,000 miles. I've moved to Southern Arizona where I drive with the top down more often. I'm still happy with the car. There's only been one minor problem with the heat control that will be fixed next time I take it in.
Incredible Little Car
socalh2oskier,03/24/2014
This 135i convertible with M Sport package is one of the most---no, make that THE MOST FUN--car I have ever owned, and I have owned many, including Jaguars, Corvettes, and Porsches, to name a few. Fantastic engine pulls strong from a dead stop to 7k rpms. DCT transmission is a blast. Handling is sharp. This thing scoots around like a Miata on steroids. The only thing I dislike about this car are the run-flat tires, which I switched out after one week for some non-run-flat Michelins--this immediately improved the ride tremendously. I think this may be the best car BMW makes.
Excellent car - mixed bag transmission
kjgood,01/03/2015
135i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
This is my second 135i convertible, and I have over 20k on this car at the time of this review. I was somewhat reluctant to order it with the then-new-to-the-135 7-speed dual-clutch transmission instead of the manual, but I was persuaded by the thought of the lightning-fast shifts and the advantage of being able to select between auto and manual modes. The reality is that in manual mode, and even auto mode for fast acceleration, the transmission is brilliant. But in stop-start, mundane "through the neighborhood" use (where you just want to leave it in auto-mode), the transmission is hesitant, clunky and confused. In other words, where you most want it to be an automatic, it is wanting.
This is my favorite car
socalh2oskier,05/30/2014
135i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M)
Best car I've ever owned. I have had Corvettes, Jags, Benzes and a multitude of others, but by far my favorite is the 135i convertible. It is a fun, peppy car that strikes an almost perfect balance between ride/handling--and this is with the sport package. Mine has the DCT transmission--it works flawlessly and is so intuitive I rarely use the manual function. Handling is superb. The ride is a bit rough with the OE run-flats. I swapped mine out for non-run-flat Michelins right away--the ride is much improved. IMO, BMW should do away with OE run-flats. They are horrible. Update after driving this car for 25,000 miles. I still love the car, but I wish I would have gotten the manual transmission. The DCT is great if you are driving fast, but for normal mundane around town stuff--which is 90 percent of my driving--the DCT sucks. It has a horrible problem where it is almost as if the car dies when you come to a stop quickly and then try to step on the gas--nothing happens for 2-5 seconds, and then all of a sudden the transmission figures out you want to go and it takes off. This is not turbo lag--the car simply will not move--you can have the gas pedal floored and it feels as if the car shut off--nothing happens for a few seconds, which is scary in some situations. I took it to the dealer and they kept it for a week trying to fix it--they got it improved slightly, but it is still not fixed. I have discovered that, if you slap the gear shift over into sport mode as you are coming to a stop, this takes care of the problem, so, as long as you can plan ahead, you are okay. This won't help in emergency situations, but for most around town driving, I can now at least avoid this problem. Other than the DCT issue, and my previously described disdain for run-flats, I LOVE THIS CAR.

Features & Specs

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More about the 2013 BMW 1 Series

Used 2013 BMW 1 Series Overview

The Used 2013 BMW 1 Series is offered in the following submodels: 1 Series Coupe, 1 Series Convertible. Available styles include 128i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 128i 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 128i SULEV 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 128i SULEV 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M), 135i 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 135i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), 135is 2dr Coupe (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M), and 135is 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl Turbo 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2013 BMW 1 Series?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 BMW 1 Series trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 BMW 1 Series 128i SULEV is priced between $11,888 and$11,888 with odometer readings between 77615 and77615 miles.

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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 BMW 1 Series for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2013 1 Serieses listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,888 and mileage as low as 77615 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 BMW 1 Series.

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Find a used BMW 1 Series for sale - 8 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $20,025.

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Should I lease or buy a 2013 BMW 1 Series?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out BMW 1 Series lease specials