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New BMW 1-Series hatchback review
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Like a fine wine, the BMW 1-Series Hatchback gets better with age.

Despite the original 1-Series being fiercely criticised in some quarters for its less than flattering exterior – the reviled elongated bonnet and plump rear-end, for example – it was still ranked as one of the hottest hatchbacks in its class.

Admittedly, the original 1-Series was never going to win any awards for its good looks – but the second generation is a different story entirely.

Benefitting from a longer and wider profile, the new 1-Series has grown into its previously compressed looking exterior, with the bonnet and rear-end no longer looking quite so unpleasant.

Open the door of the 1-Series and one is presented with a restyled dashboard and enhanced trim, which gives the interior a much swankier feel than its predecessor.

Below we review of the BWM 1-Series the engine performance, reliability, safety and handling, and outline what you should know when looking to buy.

Engine

As usual, BMW come up trumps with an impressive range of clean and efficient diesel engines. The 2.0-litre diesel that powers the 120d model offers 184bhp and can shift from 0-62mph in just 7.2 seconds – but it can also do an average of 62.8mpg for the more conservative among us. From a petrol engine perspective, the twin-turbo versions average 49mpg and provide a speedy and refined ride.

Reliability

We’ve come to expect impeccable reliability standards from the German motoring giant – and the 1-Series doesn’t disappoint. Problems with this motor should be rare given its track record, and the interior feels like it could withstand a nuclear blast. Probably.

Safety

Awarded top marks from Euro NCAP, the BMW 1-Series’ safety is enhanced with its ABS brakes, stability control, Dynamic Traction Control, Dynamic Brake Control and Cornering Brake Control. All models come complete with four airbags and run flat tyres, which is handy when it’s impractical to stop if you get a puncture.

Handling

The rear-wheel drive of the 1-Series offers an extremely enjoyable journey thanks to its inline engine layout and equal weight distribution across the car. The 1-series provides a well-balanced drive, much more comfortable than its predecessor, takes corners like it’s on rails, and handles like a dream, even in the wet.