Could ‘unique’ be one of the most overworked and erroneously used words in the English language? Perhaps. It means one of a kind, yet countless times you’ll hear someone rumbling on about something or other’s rarity by stating it’s “pretty much unique”. That’s like saying your wife is “slightly pregnant” or your pet budgerigar is “a little bit dead”.
Anyway, why the language lecture? Well, it just happens that in the family car class the BMW 1 Series is unique. In a sea of front and four-wheel-drive rivals, including everything from the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf at the more common or garden end of the market to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A3 at the swankier end, the 1 Series is available with rear-wheel drive. That makes it genuinely one of a kind.
The hype says that it should be sportier to drive as a result. But is it? That’s what we’re here for, so keep clicking through our review to find out everything about driving and owning a 1 Series, which is the best engine and trim to buy and how it stacks up against its rivals.