AN UPDATED version of BMW’s smallest car has just been launched, featuring very mildly tweaked styling and, crucially, a new range of more efficient engines that BMW will be hoping makes its 1-series more attractive than its closest rivals, the VW Golf and Audi A3.
Can you recall when the car was first launched? Scroll down for the answer.
BMW introduced the BMW 1-series in 2004, initially in five-door hatchback form, as the successor to the BMW 3-series Compact. In 2007 a three-door was introduced, and coupé and cabriolet versions arrived later that year. The second generation was brought in for 2011.
BMW made a great deal of noise about its rear-wheel-drive design, which was – and still is – extremely uncommon for a hatchback, and drivers liked the handling dynamics and robust build quality.
However, despite the sporty drive, the original 1-series was not universally loved. Many commentators weren’t keen on the styling and noted that it had limited space in the rear compared with other, front-wheel-drive (and less expensive) hatchbacks.
Chief among its detractors was our very own Jeremy Clarkson, who wrote in The Sunday Times: “The 1-series will be the ruination of the BMW brand. Of that I have no doubt”, and, “You can have a Golf GTI for less, and that, in almost every single way, is a better car.”
Clarkson went on to say: “I’m choosing the words for my conclusion with even more care than usual. So here goes. The 1-series is crap.”