Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2011 BMW 1 SERIES VS 2011 Ford Mustang Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2011 Ford Mustang

Safety Comparison

The BMW 1 Series has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Mustang doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

Compared to metal, the 1 Series’ plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Ford Mustang has a metal gas tank.

Both the 1 Series and the Mustang have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

The 1 Series comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Mustang’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 1 Series’ corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Mustang’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 1 Series for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Ford doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Mustang.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 1 Series has a standard 720 amp battery. The Mustang’s 590 amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the 1 Series is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the 1 Series’ battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Mustang’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Motor Trend the 135i is faster than the Ford Mustang V6 (manual transmissions tested):

1 Series


Zero to 60 MPH

4.6 sec

5.1 sec

Quarter Mile

13.2 sec

13.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

105.5 MPH

102 MPH

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the 1 Series’ engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the Mustang:


128i 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

2750 RPM

135i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

1200 RPM

Mustang 3.7 DOHC V6

4000 RPM

Mustang GT 5.0 DOHC V8

4250 RPM

GT500 5.4 supercharged V8

4250 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the 135i Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Mustang GT Manual (20 city/28 hwy vs. 17 city/26 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The 1 Series has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Mustang doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The 1 Series stops much shorter than the Mustang:

1 Series


70 to 0 MPH

157 feet

162 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

134 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

128 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The 128i Convertible’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mustang V6 Auto’s standard 65 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 1 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Mustang doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the BMW 1 Series has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Ford Mustang has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The 1 Series’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.7% to 50.3%) than the Mustang’s (53% to 47%). This gives the 1 Series more stable handling and braking.

The 135i Coupe handles at .94 G’s, while the Shelby GT500 Coupe pulls only .89 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 135i Coupe goes through Road & Track’s slalom 1.8 MPH faster than the Mustang V6 Coupe (71 vs. 69.2 MPH).

The 135i Coupe executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Mustang V6 Coupe (25.2 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 25.8 seconds @ .71 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW 1 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 50 to 200 pounds less than the Ford Mustang.

The 1 Series is 1 foot, 4.4 inches shorter than the Mustang, making the 1 Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces. The 1 Series is 1 foot, 4.4 inches shorter than the Mustang.

The 1 Series is 5.1 inches narrower than the Mustang, making the 1 Series easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the 135i Coupe is quieter than the Mustang GT Coupe:

1 Series


At idle

51 dB

52 dB


76 dB

80 dB

50 MPH Cruising

66 dB

69 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

74 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The 1 Series Coupe has 2.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mustang Coupe (86 vs. 83.3).

The 1 Series Coupe has .6 inches more front hip room, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 2.4 inches more rear headroom, 6.6 inches more rear hip room and 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mustang Coupe.

The 1 Series Convertible has .6 inches more front hip room, .7 inches more front shoulder room and .5 inches more rear headroom than the Mustang Convertible.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 1 Series’ available rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Mustang Convertible doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Ergonomics Comparison

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the 1 Series has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Mustang doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

When two different drivers share the 1 Series, the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Mustang doesn’t offer a memory system.

The 1 Series’ optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Mustang doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The 1 Series Convertible’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches. The Mustang’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

If the windows are left down on the 1 Series the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Mustang can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The 1 Series has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Mustang doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The 1 Series’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Mustang’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 1 Series to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Mustang doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 1 Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Mustang doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The 1 Series has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Mustang only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

While driving with high-beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 1 Series detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low-beams. The Mustang doesn’t offer automatic dimming high-beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 1 Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Mustang doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 1 Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The 1 Series’ outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Mustang doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

When the 1 Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Mustang’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 1 Series offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Mustang has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the 1 Series has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Mustang doesn’t offer rear vents.

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