WHAT IT’S GOT
Six airbags, stability control, automatic stop-start, M Sport interior, M Sport brakes, M Sport suspension, variable sport steering, 18-inch M alloy wheels, 6.5-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth, voice control, navigation, BMW Connected Drive, rear camera, automatic emergency braking (below 60km/h), lane departure warning, pedestrian warning, parking sensors, LED headlights.
WHAT IT HASN’T
Radar cruise control, lane keeping, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear camera guidelines, Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto, spare wheel.
BMW’s Basic Service package costs $1340 over five years/ 80,000km, with intervals dependent upon use and driving conditions.
WHAT WE LIKED
Rear-wheel drive dynamics, beautifully done. Big grunt in a small car is always entertaining. BMW’s 2.0-litre turbo also does top-end fizz better than most. Snug cockpit, supportive driver’s seat, sporty driving position with plenty of adjustability. iDrive works. Cheap servicing — while you’re on the plan.
WHAT WE DIDN’T
At the price, you’re short-changed on some important safety, convenience and connectivity features. Dash is dating fast. Low-speed ride can be a bit rugged on rough streets. Tight rear seat. Tyre noise on coarse bitumen.
AUDI S1 $49,900
Haven’t driven this but I’d like to. 2.0-litre turbo (170kW), six-speed manual, all-wheel drive and 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds. Beautiful numbers.
MERCEDES A250 SPORT $54,800
A loveable little punk-mobile, with 160kW 2.0-litre turbo, seven-speed automatic, all-wheel drive and adaptive dampers. 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds.
VW GOLF GTI $43,840
Capable, enjoyable, spacious and comfortable. Front-driver with 162kW 2.0-litre turbo, six-speed manual or DSG. 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds.