Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Should you buy one?

A small number of brand loyalists will bemoan the switch to front-wheel drive, yet only performance fans buying the M135i xDrive will have cause to complain.

The rest of the range is well-built and pleasant to drive. In fact, we rate the 1 Series over the competition, too. The Audi A3 has great engines but feels cramped inside. While the Mercedes A-Class has an interior that seems like a glossy veneer plaster over some features that are lacking in finesse.

If you want the best value, both the SE and Sport are available with much of the same standard and optional equipment. BMW Live Cockpit Professional is worth upgrading to, as is the Driving Assistant pack chiefly because of the extra safety features it offers.

As for engines, the 118d and 118i will do everything most buyers will ever ask without ever really breaking sweat. Those after a bit more pace may want to look at the 120d xDrive and the optional adaptive dampers it can be specced with. Alternatively, the M135i xDrive delivers superb performance, if not the same excitement levels as its M140i predecessor. Think of it as BMW’s version of a Volkswagen Golf R and you’re about there.

What we like

Its logically laid out and high quality interior and has one of the easiest to use infotainment systems in the business as it does little to distract and infuriate.

Owners of regular 1 Series models will appreciate the agile handling while the M135i is certainly fast.

Efficient engines add to the appeal and company car rates are also favorable thanks to low CO2-emitting diesels.

What we don’t like

Space still isn’t the best, although it is at least much improved over its predecessor. Naturally it’s more expensive than mainstream rivals, too.

Further reading