24 June 2004

Last week Peter Robinson's first drive expounded the virtues and failings of BMW's 1-series hatchback; this week, we're the first to hold it up for comparison to its benchmark competition. Specifically, we pitch it against Audi's A3, Volkswagen's Golf and Vauxhall's Astra, and ask a crucial question; are its impressive dynamics enough to overcome its packaging shortcomings in the company that counts?

'We know the new BMW 1-series has its flaws,' writes Road Test Editor Chris Chilton, 'but we also know that, on the road, it's a demon. So is it a convincing enough car overall to beat the Golf, A3 and Astra at their own games. And if not, where does that leave BMW?'

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