THERE aren't many companies that are more fun for a motoring journalist to report on than BMW. Where most of the big car companies are deeply conservative, BMW isn't afraid of leading the market with bold designs, intriguing innovations and some projects that just have you wondering how they ever got the green light. Even BMW usually follows a pattern insofar as its big-selling models, the 1, 3 and 5 series, are generally more soberly styled than its niche coupes and convertibles but every now and then the Munich company pitches us something that keeps us on our toes. It did so with the previous generation 5 Series and the latest 1 Series hatchback is another vehicle that has whipped up a storm of controversy.
The front end styling is certainly challenging and is tough to ignore, but let's look beyond that for a moment and concentrate on the 1 Series' other attributes, some of which are well worth investigating, having been nudged down the news agenda by the styling.