Newish look

* **Price** 19,375-23,480 * **On sale** September * **MPG 47.9-74.3**, **CO2** 99-137g/km...

Newish look

Although the similarity of this 1 Series to the original may come as a disappointment to some, project manager Dietmar Zimmerhackl explains that 'the styling shouldn't be a surprise the previous car introduced the model for the first time, customers like it and it established the character of the 1 Series, so we didn't make experiments with this one.'

Fact is the 1 Series has been a hit, with more than one million sold worldwide since 2004, and it's the most popular BMW in the UK after the 3 Series.

'This model has grown,' says Zimmerhackl, 'and there are a lot of changes and a lot more functions in the car.'

In styling terms the biggest differences are to be found at the front, where a flatter nose includes a kidney grille whose faint reverse rake references BMWs from the 1960s.

The subtly muscular billow of bodywork over the back wheels emphasises a rear-wheel-drive layout that remains unique in a class of front-drive cars, its superior handling balance intended to appeal to keener drivers.

According to Zimmerhackl, this 1 Series should be more rewarding to drive than the outgoing model.

His team also targeted a number of other weak spots, top of the list being ride quality the improvements here, assuming they're delivered, will be good news for UK drivers given our battered roads.