Test your knowledge: When was the first BMW 1-series launched?

And what did Clarkson think of it?

Original BMW 1-series

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.













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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.”