FRANKFURT – When BMW AG announced the sale of the Rover Group on March 17, 2000, it also revealed hastily drawn plans for a new, sporting BMW hatchback positioned between the Mini and the 3-Series Compact. The crucially important new 1-Series is that car. Four years, less two days, after first disclosing the idea of a baby Bimmer, Ward’s was invited to view the prototypes. The new 1-Series, to go on sale simultaneously in left-hand-drive Europe and the right-hand-drive U.K. in September, ...

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