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BMW 1 Series

| 24-02-2020
On March 2nd will be announced which car may call itself the Car of the Year 2020. In this mini series I count down to that moment, by discussing one of the seven nominees every day. I try to estimate the odds of every contender and put the model and brand in a historical perspective. With seven days left, today it's the turn of the BMW 1 Series.
Blue and white car
Front view of the BMW 1 Series in two different versions
BMW and the Car of the Year election
BMW has been nominated several times. In 1987 the 7 Series became 3rd, in 2018 the 5 Series reached the same spot. BMW came out second five times: in 1966 with the 1600, in 1968 with the 2500/2800, in 1976 with the 3 Series, in 1978 with the 7 Series and in 2014 with the i3. A first prize, and with it the title of Car of the Year, was however never won by BMW. Would they succeed this year?

The pedigree of the 1 Series
The 1 Series that has been nominated for the title Car of the Year this year is already the third generation of the model. The previous 1 Series came on the market in 2012 and was facelifted in 2015. Based on that 1 Series, BMW also built the 2 Series: from 2014 as a Coupé and from 2015 also as a Convertible. Based on the first 1 Series – introduction: 2004, facelift: 2007 – BMW also built a Coupé and Convertible, but they were simply called 1 Series, just like the hatchback. Before BMW released the 1 Series, the brand already made a few less successful attempts with a more compact model than the 3 Series sedan. From 1994 there was also a 3 Series Compact, which got a successor in 2001. These were both more like 'sedans with a chopped off boot' than real hatchbacks. Replacing that model with the 1 Series, which ís a real hatchback, soon turned out to be a good choice.

The odds of the 1 Series
In contrast to its predecessors, the new 1 Series has front-wheel drive. This means that it has more interior space, which particularly benefits the legs of the rear passengers. In addition, there is more luggage space than in the previous model and, more importantly, more than in its main competitors: the Mercedes-Benz A Class and Audi A3. The finish and the use of materials in the front are very good. The screen with operation via i-Drive is very user-friendly. It's quiet inside the car and the driving behavior is more predictable than with the previous model. With that the 1 Series can compete with its premium competitors, but is not ahead of them. The design is of course taste dependent, but in my opinion it's no improvement compared to older BMWs.

Will the 1 Series be the Car of the Year 2020?
It is undoubtedly a very good car, and the fact that it operates in the C-segment should statistically speak in its favor, but I don't think the title goes to BMW this year. To me, there are too many other nominees which are truly innovative in one or more respects. And, as far as I can estimate, that cannot really be said of the 1 Series.