On paper, the new 1-Series Coupé looks very promising. It’s compact, rear-wheel drive, has a new electronic differential and, in 135i guise, features one of the world’s best engines. The twin-turbo 3.0-litre petrol makes this the most powerful car in its class, with performance to rival one of the company’s M models. And all for less than £30,000.
It’s claimed to be a proper four-seater, and its conservative design places it in between stylish coupés and top-end hot hatches. So here we line it up against one of each. The Audi TT makes no pretence of putting practicality first, but it’s better to drive than ever before, looks great and has a meaty, normally aspirated V6 with 4WD underpinnings.
The same engine sees service in parent firm VW’s flagship Golf R32 – yet we don’t think that’s Wolfsburg’s best hot hatch. The GTI Edition 30 is not only cheaper to buy and run, but just as fast and fun. While the Golf is pricey compared to direct rivals, it costs £7,423 less than the 135i.
1. Audi TT 3.2
2. VW Golf GTI
3. BMW 1-series coupe
Source: AutoExpress, thanks to Andrew for the tip