Second generation Compact is a class act. It's just as desirable as its saloon sister, styling and quality are top notch, and its unique rear-drive hatchback layout pleases keen drivers.
- Sporty hatchback coupe with strong image
- Refined and responsive with pin-sharp steering
- Quality cabin and good standard equipment
- Quite pricey, new and used
- Rear headroom could be better
- Extras push up prices rapidly
The original Compact seemed a bit of an afterthought a 3-Series with the boot sawn off, that was never ranked equally with other 3's. The current generation completely revises those views. It's a classic sports hatch whose rear-wheel driving characteristics combine with a brilliant chassis and fine engines to produce a car that handles with supreme confidence and is also fun.
No Compact is cheap new prices start at around £17,000 and extras hike the bill far higher but the least expensive 316ti is a sound choice if you don't need the 325ti's 7-second 0-60mph acceleration. The 316 has a modern 1.8-litre Valvetronic engine, develops 115bhp, gives 40mpg and offers smooth, flexible power across the rev range.
The cabin is efficiently styled, with a good driving position and adequate rear legroom although rear headroom is restricted. And lesser rivals are better equipped; climate control costs nearly £1000 on basic versions.
Need To Know
Best Models: Cheap 316ti and frugal 320td
Worst Models: Pricey 325ti Sport
Quality & Reliability
Value for Money