The recent introduction of revamped versions of two of the UK’s most popular prestige hatchbacks is great news for Motor Range customers. As fans of the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes Benz A-Class trade up to the refreshed models, it means more new stock at our used car dealership.  

Both cars boast sporty styling with classic BMW or Mercedes features providing plenty of the wow factor! The best thing is that by buying a used BMW 1 Series or a used Mercedes A-Class from Motor Range, you can benefit from premier quality and style, as well as a whole host of optional extras, at a fraction of the cost of a brand new car.

When it comes to a used Mercedes A-Class or a used BMW 1 Series, which one will you choose? Let’s take a look at why these two compact luxury cars are such a success on the roads…

Hot Handling

Orange BMW 1 Series parked three-quarters facing right

Image by: The National Roads and Motorists' Association

Whenever we think of prestige motors, we usually think of bigger cars and more powerful engines - compact size and fuel efficiency isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. Luckily, Mercedes and BMW have both realised the popularity and benefits of easy-to-handle, economic hatchbacks that are also stylish with more than a few luxury features. 

With premium quality comes great handling. The 3rd generation A-Class sticks to the road well, with good handling around corners, thanks to being a quarter of a tonne heavier than the BMW and some assistance from the optional 4-wheel-drive. If you feel the need for some extra oomph, try the Mercedes AMG A45 with a whopping 380 PS. Other than that, you can choose from a range of petrol or diesel engines ranging from 1.5-litre to 2.2-litre, manual or automatic. Lowered suspension across the range will make you feel connected to the road and in control at all times.

Prior to the BMW 1 Series’ latest revamp, the smallest BMW only offered a rear-wheel drive experience. Many may prefer the more common front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive that’s available in the new generation. However, we’d recommend test driving the rear-wheel-drive, as you might find that this kind of setup gives a used BMW 1 Series (prior to 2019) better traction and weight distribution, providing faster acceleration and altogether more responsive handling. If you’re a fan of RWD, now’s the time to grab one! Choose from 1.5-litre, 2.0-litre diesel or petrol or 3.0-litre petrol only, all available in automatic or manual configurations.

Also in its favour, the 1 Series has a smaller turning circle of 10m, compared to 11m for the Mercedes A-Class, which comes in handy if you need to negotiate city streets or tight car park spaces. 

Superb Looks

Blue Mercedes A-Class parked three-quarters facing right

Along with the unmistakable Mercedes 3-spoke badge and narrow headlights, the A-Class has more youthful looks than other models in the range. An aggressive profile created by a long nose, sleek lines, 10-spoke alloy wheels and body creases in all the right places, successfully helps to ditch its middle-aged image, making the A-Class popular with younger, more dynamic drivers. 

The small tailgate of the Mercedes A-Class provides a tidy rear end, complemented by horizontal LED tail lights and a wide bumper. Top-of-the-range AMG trim comes with additional bodykit, LED headlamps and lowered sports suspension. 

BMW 1 Series has all of the usual Beamer features, with a long bonnet and the small, split grille. Despite being around 4cm wider than the A-Class, it looks a bit more chunky than its Mercedes rival, with strong shoulders and wider lights that help it stand out on the road. The SE trim comes with 16” alloys as standard, with higher spec benefitting from 17” or 18” wheels.

Higher specs come with extras, such as the M Sport’s aerodynamic body, sport suspension and LED lights.

Interior Style

BMW 1 Series Sport Nav front interior with red trim

As you might expect from premium cars, both a used BMW 1 Series and a used Mercedes A Class are very well equipped to provide a comfortable and practical drive.

While both cars are similar in size, the larger windows of the BMW 1 Series provide a more roomy interior feel. This extends to the boot which, at 360 litres, is 19 litres bigger than the luggage space of the Mercedes A-Class. With it being slightly narrower than the A-Class, however, it’ll feel a little more snug for adults in the back seat, especially with the rear-wheel drive setup and transmission tunnel limiting legroom. In the rear, the 60/40 split-fold seats of both the Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1 Series allow for adaptable seating and versatile luggage space. 

Mercedes A-Class Sport front interior with leather seats

The Mercedes A-Class boasts front leather sport seats, sport steering wheel and voice-activated controls, successfully ditching the slightly frumpy image of previous generations. Entry-level SE models come complete with 7” infotainment screen, Garmin sat nav, smartphone integration (including Apple CarPlay) and air conditioning, while the Sport trim gets an 8” infotainment screen, climate control and automatic wipers. The AMG trim gets heated front seats, too. 

While the base-level BMW 1 Series doesn’t stretch to a sat nav, it does provide a slightly more ergonomic drive, with all controls within easy, logical reach of the driver. With BMW you’ll find an upmarket interior, no matter the size of the model, and this is proven by the 1 Series despite the fact that leather interior is lacking on most models. The iDrive infotainment system is easier to use than the Mercedes infotainment and is, in fact, one of the best on the market. 

Why Should I Buy a Used Mercedes A-Class?

When you want to get your foot on the ladder with a prestige car marque, you won’t go far wrong with a Mercedes A-Class. With prices starting at around £11k for a used Mercedes A-Class 2015 model, it’s a great investment. As with all prestige car makes, depreciation is slow, which means that you’ll get a great sale or part-ex price when/if you decide to trade up.

For a little extra space and great spec, even in the entry-level trims, the Mercedes A-Class tips the scales over the BMW. And for those who value safety above all else - and who wouldn’t? - the Mercedes A-Class comes out ever-so slightly better than the BMW 1 Series. 

Why Should I Buy a Used BMW 1 Series?

If you’re a BMW lover, your decision is no doubt already made. And if you’re just looking for a prestige, great-looking, comfortable and easy-to-drive hatchback, then a used BMW 1 Series is a great choice, too! Available from £11k or thereabouts for a 2016 model, the rear wheel drive really does set it aside from other hot hatches and makes it fun and engaging to drive. What it might lack on the interior, it certainly makes up for in performance and with RWD models slowly disappearing, you’ll find no problem selling this on for a good price in the future.

As well as similar purchase prices, you’ll find that insurance costs and fuel economy are almost identical for our two premium hatchbacks, with both available on competitive and affordable excellent finance deals.

Driving a hatchback doesn’t have to mean skimping on comfort, style and a little bit of flair. Whether you go for Mercedes’ ‘Best or Nothing’ or BMW’s ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’, we think you’re in for a real treat when you purchase either of these luxuriously appointed, hottest of hatchbacks. To help you decide, pop down to the Motor Range showroom for a closer look.