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BMW 1 Series offers five-star safety, but marginal whiplash protection

BMW 1 Series offers five-star safety, but marginal whiplash protection
Tristan Honeywill

For a brand that builds premium, driver-focused cars, you might expect just a little more protection when things go wrong. The latest version of the BMW 1-Series offers five-star safety, read full report, but it’s up against other, more safety-conscious premium cars.

The frontal collision was good, but the 1 Series did less well than some of its less expensive competitors in other aspects of the assessment. In the side barrier test, which simulates a car ploughing into your side, chest protection was adequate, rather than good. In the more severe pole test, which simulates a car sliding into a tree or lamppost, dummy readings for rib compression indicated that chest protection for the driver is weak. Surprisingly, in the whiplash test, protection was “marginal” when most cars score a “good” these days.

On child protection, the car did better, scoring maximum points for the three-year old test and very nearly the same for the 18 month old. You have the option to fit a switch to disable the front passenger airbag for a rear-facing child seat, but information about whether it’s off or on is not clear enough, says Euro NCAP.

Pedestrian protection is OK too. Hard stuff has been kept away from the areas that a child’s head would probably strike, but the landing is not so good for an adult. The bumper design protects legs well.

Accident prevention technologies are available as options. The car Adaptive cruise control, which keeps your distance from the car in front, can be fitted as part of a £500 Comfort Pack. Lane departure warning (£330), a speed limitation device and adaptive xenon headlights (£1,140) are also available.


Safety tips

Buyer’s guide

  • The BMW 1-Series  starts at £17,830
  • Add the Visibility Package for £1,140. It gives you adaptive headlights with cornering lights, variable light distribution and adaptive headlight range control
  • Fit the Driver Comfort Package for £500, which gives you adaptive cruise control. You’ll then be able to add Lane Departure Warning with rear-end collision warning for £330. You’ll also need to spend £125 to get the Full Black Panel display
  • If you’re fitting the £1,550 Business Media or £1,995 Professional Media packages, a speed limit information system can be fitted for an extra £200. It also also tells when you cannot overtake.
  • Also consider the Volvo V40, Ford Focus and Audi A3

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