Longitudinal engines have always presented a huge packaging hurdle for the 1 Series, simply because they leave less room for passengers than a transverse motor would.
In a perfect world, a shorter three-cylinder engine might have redressed that equation at least a little. But, as evidenced in all sorts of ways which we’ll come to, a perfect world is not where the 1 Series exists.
And so the 1 Series remains a tight fit when you slide in behind the wheel. For longer-legged drivers, with the steering column at full telescopic range and the seat slid all the way back, it can be an awkward squeeze just to slip in between the B-pillar and the steering wheel.
Once you’re in, the cabin feels snug around your extremities – more so, in fact, than the interiors of most superminis do. If you don’t like that close-fitting impression from a compact car, chances are it’ll just feel restrictive.
In the rear cabin, the entry and exit routine is even more awkward, and there’s limited head and foot room in particular – so limited, in fact, that there’s space for teenagers and smaller adults only. The boot is a more reasonable size, being smallish but within about 10 percent of family hatchback norms on loading length, overall width and under-shelf height.