The BMW 1 Series hatches are one of the best small family cars on the market. These rear wheel drive vehicles are reasonably priced, fun to drive and offer a surprisingly high standard of fuel economy. The light chassis, strong acceleration and excellent handling make this as sporty as any other hot hatch and even the highly efficient diesel variant is capable of superior levels of performance.
The interior offers considerable space for a car in this class and the driving position manages to be snug without feeling cramped. The dash is intelligently designed with all of the controls organised for optimum comfort and convenience. There is ample headroom in both front and back for six-footers and the folding rear seats give the boot an extended load-bay when required.
At the other end of the hatchback scale is the BMW 5 Series GT hatch which offers a wonderfully capacious interior and comes in a range of 3.0 litre to 4.4 litre high performance engines. Despite its size and power the interior is remarkably relaxed and the vehicle is truly at home on the motorway where the hushed ride and refined layout make it an exceptional long distance cruiser.
Designed by Christopher Weil the sleek lines and shape make it appear more like a coupe than a saloon. The elevated seating on production models offers a commanding view of the road and it comes in a traditional 5-seater format with an executive option that has reclining rear seats and a central console in the back.
The staggering range of optional interior features includes 4-zone automatic air con, a panoramic glass roof and an 80GB hard disc for media and data storage. With twin front, side and curtain air bags fitted as standard the vehicle also offers an unrivalled standard of safety.