Now that the BMW 1 Series has become a more traditional hatchback, being front-wheel drive-based, it has to take on more traditional competition. When the 1 Series was rear-wheel drive, it always stood separate from other hot hatches in the segment, as it had a unique flavor that made it worth buying even if the rest of it wasn’t as good. However, now that it’s front-drive, it doesn’t have the unique flavor, how does it stack up against its rivals? Auto Express finds out.

In this new comparison test, AE pits the BMW 1 Series up against the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Volkswagen Golf. While the A-Class is going to be its most common rival, don’t sleep on the Golf. Sure, it’s cheaper than the BMW and Benz by quite a bit but I’d argue it’s the toughest competitor in the segment. Not only is it cheaper than the other two but this current Mk VII Golf is one of the very best cars on the market.

However, when it’s all said and done, AE gave the win to the BMW 1 Series. It seems as if European publications are kinder to the 1er’s new handling dynamics than North American pubs (though, the latter opinions likely don’t matter as the car isn’t sold in America). In this test, the 1 Series is said to handle the best and have the best interior materials. It’s also every bit as comfortable and practical as the other two.

Personally, I find it difficult to spend more money on anything over the Golf. It’s the perfect value family hatch, as it’s just as fun to drive as the best hatches on the market, rides beautifully and is cheaper than all of the premium offerings. But if customers want a premium hatchback, something to be a practical city car while also being luxurious and comfortable, the 1 Series is the best in the segment, according to Auto Express.

[Source: Auto Express]