2008 BMW 1-series

ON SALE: EARLY 2008 / $27,000 (est.)

We've lusted after the 1-series--a small hatchback with rear-wheel drive and great four- and six-cylinder engines--since its European debut three years ago. All along, BMW has been coy about whether we'd ever get it stateside, but this summer the automaker finally confirmed that, indeed, we would. The wait will soon be over, and, boy, has it been worth it--our 1-series will have two doors, six cylinders, and a whole lot more sex appeal than the model we've enviously eyed on European roads.

The entry-level 128i shares its 230-hp, 3.0-liter in-line six with the 328i. If that's not enough grunt, check out the 135i: it gets BMW's delicious 300-hp, 3.0-liter twin-turbo six, one of the best engines in the business.

Critics of the 1-series's inefficient space utilization miss the point--this is not a cargo hauler. After one drive, you'll know what makes the 1-series a worthy successor to the cars that made BMW the enthusiast brand it is today. It has the best steering of any modern BMW, a communicative chassis, and monumental power. Spring cannot come soon enough for this one.

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