IT all kicked off in September 2011 when BMW unleased the second-generation 1 Series hatchback in time for the biannual Frankfurt Motor Show.
Initially available only as a Performance Edition powered by BMW's 116i petrol engine, that was to change quickly as more engine choices became available and various trim levels joined the range.
So from the end of 2011, when there was a choice of 38 models, come mid-2014 more than 400 different variants were available.
Slightly larger than its predecessor, BMW's use of lightweight materials meant the new 1 Series actually weighed in lighter, so was more economic along with the bonus of offering more space for those on board.
With diesel-powered engines proving highly popular, the 116d became a huge success. With a low CO2 figure and great fuel economy, it proved to be a pretty impressive all-rounder, with consumption figures for the combined cycle of up to 78mpg.
It also offered great performance, with a top speed of 124mph, so all-in-all it was little wonder it became instantly appealing to business users and private owners alike.
Now for second-hand buyers looking for a three to four-year-old vehicle, this means that there are some really great offers waiting out there - many of which are kitted out with a host of high-tech goodies which were fitted as options by the car's first owners.
Being slightly larger, the second-generation model solved one of the original car's main gripes - the lack of both passenger and luggage space.
The 1 Series now offered much more room in the back so that even those larger passengers could travel in comfort without feeling totally cramped and squashed up.
Inside the cabin, the 1 Series took many of its design cues from its larger siblings, so the car's on-board controls and display units and dials should be familiar to most BMW fans.
As with the rest of BMW's line-up, the 1 Series boasted a decent array of safety features, with airbags, traction control, anti-lock brakes and stability control all featuring as standard.
Out on the road, the 1 Series performed with distinction and really was just what you would expect from one of the world's most respected brands to be like.
As a premium family favourite equally at home in busy city streets or on high-speed motorways, the BMW 1 Series has proved to be a "must-have" for those who could afford something a little up-market from the mainstream, so used car prices hold up extremely well.
A 2012 116d EfficientDynamics five-door model sporting a 12-plate will have a price tag somewhere between £8,935 and £10,785. Move on to 2013 and a 13-plate and prices will range from £10,235 to £12,235 for a similar spec model.
However, a fully-loaded 2012 12-plate example in all-singing, all-dancing Urban Professional Media trim with automatic gearbox will have a price tag somewhere between £10,710 and £12,930, while a newer 2013 model on a 13-plate will come in at between £12,275 and £14,670.