Best small car over $35,000

Australia's Best Cars 2016/17

BMW 125i – Australia's Best Small Car over $35,000

An exquisite interior and rewarding drive overcome some shortcomings in the smallest Benz.

The evolution of the BMW 1 Series since its introduction in 2004, which has seen the model continue with its rear-wheel-drive chassis, has helped keep the German maker’s smallest model at the top of the class for driver appeal. BMW has also proven it can make cars with benchmark ergonomics, and the 125i Sport Line is no exception.

When finding the optimal driving position for your size, the 1 Series is king. Anyone can get comfortable, yet cleverly there seems to be no wasted space either.

It’s in these two areas – the seemingly telepathic handling and its brilliant ergonomics – where the 125i really puts its nose ahead of the opposition. Frankly, it really needed to in order to offset the points it gave away due to its premium price.

The 125i also has strong safety credentials, including front and rear parking sensors, a rear camera, lane departure warning and a pedestrian warning feature.

The 125i’s interior, while intimate, still conveys the message that this is a luxury car, albeit downsized into a sporty hatchback. It has everything you need and nothing you don’t. Minor controls such as heating and ventilation, audio and driving modes are clearly laid out and logical without looking like labelled kitchen containers.