While I was in Germany, I had the chance to drive about 800 kilometers from Munich to Graz, Austria and back. During that long drive, I saw countless cool cars that the US market doesn’t offer. However, there was one in particular that I saw seemingly every kilometer and it filled me with a jealous rage—the BMW 1 Series hatchback.
I saw a seemingly endless parade of 1er hatches in Germany, of all different flavors. Some were entry-level diesels, some were hotter six-cylinder models, some were the frumpier-looking pre-LCI cars, some were the prettier post-LCI, but all of them were awesome. Being my first time in Germany, I’d never seen a 1 Series hatchback in person before and I never realized just how perfect it is for daily driving. Not only is it a kick-ass BMW hatchback based on the outstanding 1 Series chassis but it’s also the perfect size for a daily driver.
And yet, because America is hatchback-averse, we never got it here. Which always annoyed me but, after seeing so many people casually driving 1ers around, it now infuriates me.
My perfect car would be a little 1 Series Coupe. It’s the right size, is available with a naturally aspirated inline-six engine, is available with a manual transmission, and is rear-wheel drive. It also still has BMW’s excellent hydraulic steering and still looks and feels like a proper BMW. However, I have children and need functional back seats, which is why I have an E90 3 Series, as it’s the next best thing. However, a 1 Series hatchback would be even better for me and it’s something I deeply covet.
I don’t even want the hotter turbocharged versions, either. I just want a simple BMW 128i hatchback, with the excellent N52 inline-six engine, a six-speed manual, and rear-wheel drive. That powertrain in a compact rear-wheel drive hatchback that can fit my kids and their stuff would make me so incredibly happy. And yet, it’s a forbidden fruit I’ll never be able to taste. Unless I move to Europe. Which, honestly, isn’t out of the question.