BMW will soon stop production of the current, second-generation, F20/F21 1-Series, a model that is a truly unique proposition in the compact hatchback segment. What sets it apart from all other similar rivals is the fact that it has a longitudinally mounted engine and most examples are rear-wheel drive (although some xDrive-equipped models were also sold). This engine and drivetrain layout dominates the driving experience, and it turns the current 1-Series into a peerless car in its segment. And, it’s not rear-wheel drive just for the sake of it, because it handles like a true rear-wheel-drive car should, blending a surprisingly playful rear end when you want it to be, with a reassuring, surefooted feel when you want grip.
My 2019 BMW 118i five-door hatchback tester was also quite an interesting proposition because its power plant only has three cylinders and a displacement of 1.5-liters. However, thanks to turbocharging, the three-pot is surprisingly apt at moving the car and, since the engine is small and light, it improves the car’s overall handling characteristics.