The 1 Series was always intended to have a rear-wheel drive layout and handling characteristics and BMW design trademarks - the front kidney grille, flame-surfaced side panels, multiple-radius double headlamps and 'Hofmeister kink' on the C-pillar.The 1 Series was always intended to have a rear-wheel drive layout and handling characteristics and BMW design trademarks - the front kidney grille, flame-surfaced side panels, multiple-radius double headlamps and 'Hofmeister kink' on the C-pillar.

The 1 Series model's engine fires up at the push of a starter button. Fitted with an aluminium front axle and five-link rear suspension, the 1 Series has 50:50 weight distribution and a drag coefficient of 0.29. Sixteen-inch run-flat tyres are standard.

The cars are 4,23 metres long, but have relatively long wheelbases of 2,88 metres. That's why BMW claims that the 1 Series, despite its rear-wheel drive layout, offers "ample shoulder and legroom for rear passengers and, thanks to split fold rear seats that fold virtually flat, a similarly generous luggage capacity of between 330 to 1150 litres of storage space".

The four-cylinder petrol 120i, fitted with a 110 kW two-litre Valvetronic Double Vanos-equipped petrol engine producing 200 N.m at 3 600 r/min. BMW claims the 120i should sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 8,7 seconds before achieving a maximum speed of 217 km/h.

The 120i’s engine is reportedly maintenance free except for filter replacement and an oil change. Valve adjustment is no longer necessary, BMW says, as it is carried out by hydraulic compensating elements and a chain, designed to last as long as the engine, drives the camshafts.

Standard interior equipment on the 120i are: electric windows and mirrors, horizontally and vertically adjustable steering column, air conditioning system with automatic air recirculation and asymmetrically split folding rear seats.

In addition, there is a car key memory… as soon as the vehicle is opened with the driver’s key, the electrically adjustable seats (optional), the exterior mirrors, the air conditioning and the audio system are adjusted to suit the key owner’s preferences. In addition, the key stores the illumination (low-beam headlights always activated, setting the ‘follow me home’ lighting function) and central locking (automatic door locking when starting, turn-signal when locking the car,) settings selected by the key owner the last time he or she drove the car.

An intelligent battery sensor can increase the idle speed automatically to speed up the charging of the battery. If this measure alone does not suffice, less energy is supplied to systems that are not necessarily needed. Furthermore, a 1 Series ignition key does not incorporate a conventional battery - it has an accumulator that is constantly loaded via the ignition lock.

Optional extras include Bluetooth capability, seat heating, multi-function steering wheel, sports seats with backrest width adjustment, park distance control, iDrive mated to a navigation system, keyless access and voice-activated radio, CD, telephone and satnav controls and a storage package, which includes nets on the front seat backs, a roof grab handle on the driver’s side, 12 V socket, a net for the luggage compartment and two lashing eyes in the boot.

Three-pivot automatic seatbelts, headrests on all seats, two-stage activating front airbags, side airbags at the front and curtain head airbags, DSC (including an operating mode with higher slip thresholds - DTC), ASC, ABS, EBD and Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) and a control function to prevent the vehicle from spinning in bends if the brakes are applied lightly (CBC), are listed as the range’s standard safety equipment.