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The 1 series hit the market in 2004, replacing the outgoing Compact model as the smallest vehicle manufactured by BMW. Now in its second generation, the 1 Series is a premium compact family hatchback and has had impressive sales success, competing with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A3. Despite the strong rivals, the 1 Series has a unique feature of being the only car in its class with rear-wheel drive, a characteristic more typically found in sports cars. This gives the 1 Series greater handling and a much more fun driving experience, and has helped to maintain its strong following.
The great range of current petrol and diesel engines, both three- and five-door configurations and the choice of auto and manual gearboxes makes the 1 Series particularly desirable. The range of petrol engines start at the low end with the 118i 134bhp 1.6-litre, able to achieve a top speed of 130mph and a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds. This goes all the way up to the M140i twin-turbo six-cylinder engine, capable of 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds.
The large headlights and kidney grille characteristic of the BMW range makes the 1 Series stand out on the road, and the model looks comparatively sportier than its rival hatchbacks. After the 2015 facelift two of the specifications were dropped to leave a simpler four specification line up: SE, Sport, M Sport and EfficientDynamics Plus. All models have alloy wheels, sat-nav, DAB radio and a leather trimmed steering wheel as standard, and the interior boasts a classy well-built design. The second generation model has seen a 30-litre increase on boot capacity, taking it to 360-litres. The 1 Series has been awarded the maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash rating, confirming it as a very safe choice within the family hatchback class.
The BMW 1 Series gives excellent performance while keeping running costs surprisingly low. The elegant, sculpted design and great overall driving experience of the 1 Series keeps it consistently near the top of its class.
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