The 1 Series is the only small family car that sends its power to the rear wheels. It's sharper to drive than many of its peers, with neutral, balanced handling and decent levels of grip. Part of this agility is down to the steering, which is very quick. However, it’s also overly light, which can be a little disconcerting when you’re driving at speed.
Throw the little BMW into a corner and the body control can become a bit loose, with a fair amount of pitch and lean. Adaptive dampers help this, and improve ride comfort slightly, but they’re an expensive extra.
There are also xDrive four-wheel-drive versions with the 2.0-litre diesel engines, which are slightly less sharp than the rear-wheel-drive cars and are only for those worried about getting stuck in wintry weather.