BMW 1-Series vs Mercedes A-Class: A Comparison Guide to the Upmarket Hatchbacks

Which of these two luxury hatchbacks suit you better?
22th December 2023

Mercedes A-Class vs BMW 1-Series

When you want to get a more upmarket hatchback, there are basically two prestigious contenders: the Mercedes A-Class and the BMW 1-Series. These models from the two historical German luxury and performance brands may be in the same vehicle class but offer very different experiences. This comprehensive comparison delves into the nuanced differences, from the quality and design of their interiors to the intricate details of their driving dynamics.

Whether you're swayed by the allure of Mercedes' quiet luxury or BMW's sporty finesse, this analysis aims to guide you through every aspect, ensuring your leasing decision is as informed as it is inspired. With a focus on practicality, equipment, interior design, driving experience, and costs of ownership, we're here to unravel the complexities of these automotive icons.

**Mercedes A-Class** **BMW 1-Series** Leasing New from CHF 530/Month from CHF 500/Month Leasing Used from CHF 290/Month from CHF 280/Month
+ All-in-one from + CHF 131/Month from + CHF 167/Month
General Feeling Comfort, luxury, relaxed driving Sportiness, agility, engaging driving
Practicality Boot space: 370 liters, ample cabin space, good for four adults Boot space: 380 liters, good rear passenger kneeroom, slightly tight headroom
Equipment Updated touchscreen infotainment system with clever features but a bit complicated Choice of 8.8-inch or 10.25-inch infotainment screen, clear dashboard layout
Interior Mix of premium and practical elements, spacious with good light for back-seat passengers Conservative but elegant design, high-quality materials, driver-focused cabin
Driving Experience Comfortable ride, less emphasis on driver engagement Agile, sporty handling, more engaging and fun driving experience
Costs of Ownership Mild hybrid options and efficient at 4.4 - 6.5l/100km Good fuel economy at 4.5 - 5.8l/100km

BMW 1-Series vs Mercedes A-Class: The Main Differences

The Mercedes A-Class stands out as a beacon of sophistication in the premium hatchback segment. The 2023 iteration has become even more luxurious, despite still being an entry model to the model palette of the Stuttgart automaker. Mercedes has crafted the A-Class to cater to discerning customers who seek a blend of comfort, advanced features, and a prestigious brand image.

With its latest update, the A-Class showcases a more streamlined model lineup, focusing on providing the best of Mercedes' offerings. It's a vehicle that doesn't just compete with its direct rivals, the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3, but also positions itself as a formidable adversary to upscale versions of the VW Golf and Peugeot 308.

The A-Class is a perfect choice for those who value a car that combines the practicality of a hatchback with the luxury and status of the Mercedes brand.

In contrast, the BMW 1-Series is a testament to BMW’s commitment to driving pleasure and athletic design. As the smallest family hatchback in BMW's lineup, it doesn't compromise on delivering a dynamic driving experience.

The 1-Series is celebrated for its agile handling and high-quality cabin, making it a favorite among those who love to properly drive. Its range of engines, from efficient options to the exhilarating high-performance variants, offers something for every type of driver.

The 1-Series is an ideal choice for those who seek a car that is as fun to drive as it is practical. The 1-Series appeals especially to those who appreciate BMW's engineering expertise and sporty lineage.

Whether cruising through city streets or enjoying a spirited drive on winding roads, the 1-Series promises an engaging and responsive driving experience, staying true to the Bavarian manufacturers ethos of producing the “ultimate driving machine”.


The Mercedes A-Class is designed with a clear focus on delivering a serene driving experience. It excels in providing a tranquil and luxurious environment, ideal for those who value comfort above all else.

The suspension is tuned to absorb road irregularities, offering a smooth ride that makes long journeys a pleasure rather than a chore. Since it is the smallest of the Mercedes line-up, it is also really easy to park - although it has grown in size compared to its predecessors.

The cabin is designed to provide a peaceful, noise-insulated interior space Its ergonomically designed seats give ample legroom and space to sit comfortably whether at the front or back - thus, the newest iteration has adressed the space issues of older models. With 370 litres of boot space, a bit less than its competitors, it still manages to be adequately practical for a small car.

On the other hand, the BMW 1-Series offers a blend of practicality with an added sporty flair. While it provides marginally more space than the A-Class, making it slightly better suited for families, it's important to note that it might not be the ideal choice for those with taller passengers regularly occupying the rear seats. There is still more space than in previous models, having enlarged the knee room by 33mm.

With 380 litres, the cargo space is larger than the A-Class, but especially when it comes to bulkier items, as the hatch is somewhat smaller. For day-to-day use, such as grocery shopping, school runs, or weekend getaways, the BMW 1-Series offers more than enough space.

The 1-Series excels in urban environments, where its compact size and sporty handling make it a joy to navigate through city streets. Its practicality is complemented by BMW's signature driving dynamics, making it a top choice for those who desire a car that combines everyday usability with an enjoyable driving experience.


The 2023 Mercedes A-Class showcases its commitment to cutting-edge technology with significant updates to its MBUX infotainment system. Now exclusively touchscreen, this system represents a leap forward in digital integration, offering a sleek and modern interface.

However, this advancement comes with a caveat; the touchscreen's placement on the dashboard may require a bit of a reach, and some users may find certain aspects of the interface less intuitive. Despite this, the system is a testament to Mercedes' innovative approach, offering a range of features including navigation, media, and vehicle settings, all at the driver's fingertips.

In contrast, the BMW 1-Series offers a more driver-centric approach to its equipment. The choice between an 8.8-inch and a 10.25-inch infotainment screen provides flexibility to the user, with the larger screen offering enhanced functionality and ease of use.

BMW's thoughtful design extends to the dashboard layout, where physical controls for essential functions ensure a more tactile and intuitive driving experience. This blend of digital and analog controls is in line with BMW's ethos of creating driver-focused vehicles, providing a balance between advanced technology and practical usability.


The interior of the Mercedes A-Class presents a blend of premium and practical elements. While certain areas exude luxury with high-quality materials, there are spots where the finish may feel less upscale.

This contrast, however, doesn't detract from the overall premium ambiance of the cabin. The design ensures adequate space, offering comfort for both front and rear passengers. The ample natural light and good visibility for back-seat passengers enhance the sense of openness.

In comparison, the BMW 1-Series' interior reflects a more subdued elegance. The use of high-quality materials throughout the cabin underscores BMW's commitment to craftsmanship. The interior design, characterized by its conservatism, focuses on functionality without compromising on style.

The unique parallelogram shape of the infotainment system adds a distinct touch, merging aesthetics with technology. The cabin is thoughtfully laid out with the driver in mind, featuring an intuitive and accessible control system. This driver-centric design ensures that all controls are within easy reach, enhancing the driving experience.

Driving Experience

The Mercedes A-Class is engineered to deliver a comfortable driving experience above all else. Its suspension system is adept at absorbing road imperfections, ensuring a smooth and composed ride. This focus on comfort makes it an excellent choice for long drives that encapsulate you in the cabin.

The calm and relaxed atmosphere in the A-Class cabin is further enhanced by effective sound insulation, creating a peaceful environment that shields passengers from external noise. While it may not offer the same level of driver engagement as the 1-Series, the A-Class excels in providing a luxurious, hassle-free driving experience, ideal for those who prioritize comfort over sportiness.

So unless you go for the hardcore AMG-version, you won’t get many driving thrills in this hatchback, but you will arrive at your destination with a relaxed heartbeat.

In contrast, the BMW 1-Series is designed for those who relish an active driving experience. Known for its agility and sporty handling, the 1-Series delivers a level of engagement that driving enthusiasts will appreciate. The car’s firmer ride, a characteristic of BMW's sportier tuning, contributes to its responsive handling and driving dynamics.

Despite the firmer suspension, the 1-Series maintains excellent refinement, minimizing cabin noise and ensuring a comfortable ride. Its well-crafted interior and ergonomic layout further enhance the driving pleasure. This blend of sportiness and quality makes the 1-Series a top pick for drivers seeking a fun, engaging, but nonetheless premium driving experience.

Costs of Ownership

The Mercedes A-Class boasts a diverse range of engine options, catering to various driving preferences and needs. This includes efficient petrol and diesel engines, along with the exhilarating AMG models for those seeking higher performance.

The introduction of mild-hybrid technology in some engines enhances their performance while also improving fuel economy. This makes the A-Class not only a versatile choice but also an environmentally conscious one. Fuel efficiency starts at 4.4l/100km for the mild-hybrid options, and for normal ICE engines will go up to around 6.5l/100km.

On, your monthly leasing rate can start with as low as CHF 290, and an All-in-one service package will cost you roughly CHF 131 per month.

The BMW 1-Series sets itself apart with its all-turbocharged engine lineup. This range offers a harmonious balance of efficiency and performance, catering to a wide range of drivers. From the efficient lower-end models to the high-performance 128ti and M135i variants, the 1-Series is designed to provide a dynamic driving experience.

This focus on performance does not come at the expense of efficiency, as BMW has engineered these engines to be both potent and economical - fuel use ranges between 4.5 - 5.8l/100km, depending on the engine. offers start at a monthly CHF 280, with additional All-in-one options for about CHF 167 monthly.


The Mercedes A-Class and BMW 1-Series cater to different preferences. The A-Class is for those who prioritize comfort, luxury, and a relaxed driving experience. The 1-Series appeals more to drivers who value sportiness, agility, and an engaging driving experience. Your choice will depend on what you prioritize in a vehicle.

Both cars are more upmarket, but both deliver on their price. Your decision between these two stellar vehicles will hinge on your personal driving preferences and lifestyle needs.

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