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BMW 1 Series or Audi A3

WorldsOnFire

Active Member
I'm getting a new car but can't decide between a BMW 1 series or Audi A3. I don't want a bigger car because I need it mostly for city driving/tight parking.

Anyone got any views on these and which one would you recommend?
 
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Deleted member 39001

Guest
What specs? For instance are you getting an A3 with Quatrro? I guess you will need to say which engines you are looking at? But I find the 1 series to look classier.
 

NewBeetle

Distinguished Member
The 1 series feels lower, tauter, sportier and better made. But the A3 is newer and much more practical, with a bigger boot and more passenger space. I would say the 1 series is better for a couple or single person and the A3 better for a young family. Looks are of course subjective. As apolloa says, a lot would depend on your spec and engine choice. I have the M135i and love it, so my opinion may be slightly biased.
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
1-series, just better to drive all round.
A3 is a bit roomier though, but not much in it.
It's not like the A3 feels like a Maybach compared with the 1-series.
 

deantown

Distinguished Member
I was looking at these 2 cars before opting for a crossover. If I was going to have bought any of the 2, it would have been the A3. It just looked much better to me inside and out.
 

WorldsOnFire

Active Member
Specs would be 1.4 or 1.6 engine, 5 door this time (had 3 last and too much wear n tear when mates get in), petrol, buying brand new. By way is brand new also a good idea?

So, yeah good answers guys thanks. I also prefer the looks of 1 series but aware that the A3 is slightly more practical. Not much in it though in terms of practicality but it'd also be better in the snow!

Looking at either decent finance rate at dealer or bank loan. Got £4k already for deposit from sale of last car.
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
With regard to your snow comment, I've experienced both cars in the NE of Scotland.
A standard Audi is marginally better in snow than a standard BMW in snow, but they're both pretty terrible.
Buy snow tyres for the BMW (no need for spare wheels, just change the tyres) and you'll be laughing in Jack Frost's face.
The 'BMW are rubbish in snow' comment is annoying when it's so easily fixed.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I don't know about now but in late January there were some terrific deals available on the BMW 1 series. Our local dealer was happy to mention 'discounted extras' every time we wavered. Didn't go for one in the end as SWMBO hated the interior and seats of the BM.
 
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Deleted member 39001

Guest
I don't know about now but in late January there were some terrific deals available on the BMW 1 series. Our local dealer was happy to mention 'discounted extras' every time we wavered. Didn't go for one in the end as SWMBO hated the interior and seats of the BM.

You need to sort your missus out Gibbsy if the hates the BMW interior!! haha.

And with those engines, hmm, I guess if it's an Audi 1.4 it will be the TFSI, I don't know if that is as responsive as a BMW 1.6? I still think a 1 series in sport trim meself.
 

davepuma

Distinguished Member
I had the choice between the 5 door 1 series and the A3 Sportback. I went with the bimmer as it was better to drive and the A3 was just dull. Both are well put together so get a test drive and see which you prefer. I believe there are some good deals around on the Bmw, especially the M135i.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
the A3 was just dull.

Yeah, especially inside. Black interiors, urgh. I've never really understood the appeal of Audi outside of their sports cars.

There's quite a lot of competition for a medium sized hatchback, so it might help people to comment on stuff useful to you if you told us why you'd narrowed it down to those two in particular?
 

WorldsOnFire

Active Member
Yeah I think the BMW's are a bit more exciting. A twist to this is I did actually have a 1 series a few years ago but not for long. It was a great drive but expensive out of warranty when I needed a new part.

I've narrowed down to these two because I feel all other hatchbacks are not as superior. Golf comes close but not keen on them.
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
VAG have maybe sorted it out by now, but the 1.4TFSI engine was plagued with a lot of problems when it first came out.
That was what was fitted to the Scirocco we (the company) rejected, after multiple breakdowns.
Google searches revealed lots of problems from other owners, all centred around the coil packs.
IIRC, there was word of VAG replacing it with a 1.6 turbo instead.
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
I looked at the A3 2.0T, 1 series, MkV Golf GTi and Alpha Gullietta - I quite liked the 1 series but the rear legroom and boot room were noticeably smaller. In the Golf and A3 I can sit behind the drivers seat adjusted for my height 6'2" - in the BMW I couldn't get in at all.
The A3 2.0T felt soggy and unstable compared to the Golf.
Ended up going for the GTi which I haven't regretted once. IMHO there was very little difference between the German interiors in quality.
 

Epicurus

Well-known Member
I'm a big fan of the current gen 1 series and it's really nice to drive. I completely disagree it feels better built than the A3, sitting in a current A3 feels like a car 10k more expensive than the BMW which has a pretty shoddy cabin and various build quality problems with rusting seats and rattling trim.

It's a simple comparison between the car that's more fun to drive, or the car that's nicer to spend time in. Oh and the BMW finance offers are good too.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
You need to sort your missus out Gibbsy if the hates the BMW interior!! haha.

And with those engines, hmm, I guess if it's an Audi 1.4 it will be the TFSI, I don't know if that is as responsive as a BMW 1.6? I still think a 1 series in sport trim meself.
It was the way that you had to adjust the height of the seats that was the main problem. Lift your weight off the seat and somehow propel it upwards, really awkward, what wrong with a good on lever action for heaven's sake. She also thought that the plastics in the 1 series was of an inferior quality to a Golf that we had recently taken out. I tell you what though, when she takes a dislike to something nothing will shift her.

I quite liked the interior it flowed very well around the driver but the plastics were a bit scratchy in places, nothing like what I was expecting from a premium manufacturer. The test car was a manual and along with the problems of getting the seat height just right the driving position was poor, too much offset on the pedals and almost immediately I knew that it would lead to problems with my osteoarthritis. Would probably have been better with an auto but first impression was not good.

The model I looked at was the 120d Sport with the eight speed auto box but it was just as difficult to get into as our Scirocco but it just didn't seem to have the same charisma as the Scirocco. Salesman asked us to look at the X1 because of the problems with getting in and out. Again not the best looking vehicle on the road but if anything the interior was even worse, I believe the X1 is not yet been updated. I do think thought that if we had wanted either car and had been a bit canny we could have pushed for a really good deal.

Anyway, salesman did us a favour with pointing us towards the X1 as we then went out to look at crossovers and eventually ordered an Audi Q3.
 
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Deleted member 39001

Guest
It was the way that you had to adjust the height of the seats that was the main problem. Lift your weight off the seat and somehow propel it upwards, really awkward, what wrong with a good on lever action for heaven's sake. She also thought that the plastics in the 1 series was of an inferior quality to a Golf that we had recently taken out. I tell you what though, when she takes a dislike to something nothing will shift her.

I quite liked the interior it flowed very well around the driver but the plastics were a bit scratchy in places, nothing like what I was expecting from a premium manufacturer. The test car was a manual and along with the problems of getting the seat height just right the driving position was poor, too much offset on the pedals and almost immediately I knew that it would lead to problems with my osteoarthritis. Would probably have been better with an auto but first impression was not good.

The model I looked at was the 120d Sport with the eight speed auto box but it was just as difficult to get into as our Scirocco but it just didn't seem to have the same charisma as the Scirocco. Salesman asked us to look at the X1 because of the problems with getting in and out. Again not the best looking vehicle on the road but if anything the interior was even worse, I believe the X1 is not yet been updated. I do think thought that if we had wanted either car and had been a bit canny we could have pushed for a really good deal.

Anyway, salesman did us a favour with pointing us towards the X1 as we then went out to look at crossovers and eventually ordered an Audi Q3.

Interesting insight there. I actually looked at a 1 series in 2009, we went into the dealers when I was looking for a new car because BMW had offers on the 116 3 door sport. They only had some 5 door 22k model in the showroom, I loved the seating position of being low down, the dials was typical BMW etc, but the space in the back was totally non existent! And the boot was small, these weren't a priority to me, I just thought for 22k your having a laugh!
Especially compared to the space inside the new Fiesta I ended up buying. The beemer was not worth 7k more!

Anyway I do know the new 1 series has a bigger interior now. Hmm I guess WorldsOnFire buddy you'll have to test drive both? Give the interiors a good poke when you do, also compare the options carefully as those are what you want the deals on as they both charge a fortune for them.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I've narrowed down to these two because I feel all other hatchbacks are not as superior.

I just thought you might have specific requirements, decent seats for example, that someone whose owned one for a while (or a related model) could comment on.

p.s. Did you take a look at the new Subaru Impreza available this month? Subaru have a reputation for great mechanical reliability and with four wheel drive it should be miles better than the BMW on snow, even with changed tyres ;) And it comes with a rear view camera as standard. Although sadly, rally blue is reserved for the WRX STI saloon version (which is longer and considerably more expensive).
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
p.s. Did you take a look at the new Subaru Impreza available this month? Subaru have a reputation for great mechanical reliability and with four wheel drive it should be miles better than the BMW on snow, even with changed tyres

There are many who disagree with you, they say a 2WD car on winter tyres is better than 4WD car on standard tyres.
I remember one guy on the Alpina forum saying his winter-tyred Alpina was better than his standard Discovery in snow.
Here's a video to back this up.

 

chrisgeary

Well-known Member
Fascinating! *looks at his quattro* o_O
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I saw a similar clip with Skoda Yetis but on a test track in the snow from a couple of winters ago. Two wheeler with winter tyres out performed the 4x4 version on all seasons. The 4x4 had better traction on the flat off the line but badly over steered on even the slightest bend.

Now that I've told my neighbours that I'll soon be having a Quattro they all think our hill will be easy for me in the snow. I'm not so sure after seeing a number of videos although one neighbour did defeat the snow in his Scooby on all seasons but once he stopped on his drive he was as stranded as the rest of us.
 

markymark34

Well-known Member
1 series for me, thats coming from a 'fun' standpoint. A3 is a typical dull (but very competent) hatch, the bm is a better drivers car.
Is there much of a price difference/spec difference in the models your looking at? Agree with comments above, if snow is an issue just get winter tyres. I have had bmws for about 6 years now and have only not been able to drive it due to snow for 4 days so not exactly an issue for me.
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
I tell you, winter tyres on a 2WD BMW are a proper giggle.
I was able to use back roads other people were avoiding.
You could sense them laughing at the 'idiot in a BMW' turning off the main roads.
I had the last laugh.
 

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