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BMW 1 Series

7/10
Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:BMW 1 Series

£22,790£35,980

Driving

What is it like on the road?

BMW 1 Series front

When the BMW 1 Series first appeared back in 2005 there was a high level of champing from hacks and punters alike. Here was a hatchback, from handling maestros BMW no less, with rear-wheel drive. However, the reality was rather muted. It didn’t handle anywhere near as well as a 3 Series.

This second-gen car has revised and lighter aluminium suspension components. These reduce unsprung mass, significantly improving ride quality. On board, a ‘driving experience switch’ offers you Comfort, Sport or fuel-saving Eco Pro driving modes. These remap the engine and stability control and alter the optional auto ’box to suit the desired driving style.

The upshot is greater levels of comfort and refinement rather than a more-focused driver’s car. The 1 Series will still wag its tail under provocation, but, for better or worse, this is not what this car is about these days. Saying that, BMW does offer a M140i variant which, with 335bhp from a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six, does bring a welcome dose of classic BMW enthusiasm.

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

9/10

Subaru BRZ

n/a
If you like how the BMW drives, you'll love the rear-drive Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 duo
Continue: On the inside
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