Premium hatchbacks focused on driving experience don’t get much better than the BMW 1 Series. It goes beyond what are arguably essentials in a top-end car – practicality, comfort, decent economy and kerb attraction – and delivers fun-to-drive appeal in bucket loads.
What you need to know about the BMW 1 Series
Few cars perform like a BMW. But drivers need practicality. That’s where the 1 Series comes in, ticking so many of the modern-day boxes that owners want, without compromising on the joys of being behind the wheel.
The 1 Series stands out in its class as the only one with a rear-wheel drive set-up. This is typically found on sports cars, which is why it’s a thrill to drive. There’s a range of powerful engines to choose from, with great handling, superb balance and a brilliant connection to the road.
We’re huge fans of the manual gearbox which is direct, tight and a joy to be in control of. Diesels boast impressive efficiency, managing as much as 83 to the gallon. But even the smallest petrol – the 118i – still has plenty of punch and returns 50 to the gallon. There’s something for everyone.
What you need to watch out for
There might be better all-rounders out there, but that hasn’t stopped the 1 Series being a success. Even in the predecessor, which feels more cramp and less stylish, buyers stack up. It’ll always appeal to keen drivers.
Beyond the inevitable appeal of brilliant engines and rewarding dynamics, the 1 Series is surprisingly cheap to run. For us, it’s easy to recommend as a top-end hatchback for those who want more than the norm. We reviewed any of the diesels as the most sensible, due to great economy figures, and the M135i as the clear pick for performance.
- Audi A3
- Volkswagen Golf
- Mercedes A-Class
The 1 Series doesn’t rest on one selling factor. It’s fun to drive, backed up with superb quality and in-built tech, as well as efficiency that’ll appeal to economically-minded drivers. Browse the range from Exchange & Mart today, and head out for a test drive soon.