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The all-important first car. With premium car manufacturers focusing a good proportion of their efforts on smaller cars, and advancements in car finance, we are seeing more and more first-time drivers behind the wheel of something a little bit tasty.

Some are a lot more affordable than first thought, too, so we have compiled a list of five realistic premium first cars that offer plenty of technology and style, to make young drivers grin from ear to ear.

MINI Hatchback

The classic Mini was a textbook first car. It was easy to work on, came with go-kart like handling, was inexpensive to buy and didn't have an awful lot of power, meaning you were less likely to get in trouble with the old bill.

The all-new MINI keeps hold of the iconic characteristics created by the original and adds in a few enhancements, as you would expect with a modern day equivalent. Sure it's bigger, but it's also a lot safer, and perhaps most importantly, it's still huge fun to drive.

Used MINI models are wonderfully affordable too, and models such as the One and Cooper are safe bets for the young driver. The premium image is also an attractive proposition.

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mini-hatchback

Smart Fortwo

Easily the smallest car in our list, quite possibly the best trait for a first car, the 'cute' Smart car is a doddle to drive, whilst still offering an air of premium. The manufacturer is of course owned by Mercedes-Benz after all.

Quirky looks are accompanied by driving characteristics that are perfect for the city. The peppy engine offers plenty of poke for inner-city driving and living with a Smart in the city is going to ensure a relatively relaxed and easy drive - perfect for first time drivers to get more confidence behind the wheel.

The Smart car is certainly unique, and with low mileage examples dropping well into prime first car price territory, what's not to like.

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BMW 1 Series

A BMW was once reserved for the ultra-elite. However, in an ever-changing world where smaller cars are more popular, premium manufacturers like BMW have had to adapt. The entry-level 1 Series was launched in 2004.

It may be the first step in BMW ownership, but the 1 Series has the typical BMW traits owners look for, such as a high quality interior, a great driving experience and premium image.

A used BMW 1 Series is also rather affordable too, especially previous generations which have of course depreciated, as expected. An entry-level 'Beamer' is a perfect premium car for the young driver and will more than likely spark a lasting relationship with the BMW brand.

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bmw-1-series

Audi A1

The A1 is the entry-level Audi. It is much smaller than BMW and Mercedes-Benz entry-level cars, but the A1 isn't really in competition with the 1 Series or A-Class, it is more aimed at these manufacturers' sub brands, such as MINI and Smart.

Just because the Audi A1 is smaller, doesn't mean the car offers any less in terms of quality, as it very much keeps the typical Audi characteristics of a quality feel and a premium image. It is merely a small Audi, and therefore still offers a sought-after overall driving experience.

Interior quality is excellent and with plenty of trim levels and engine options, a used Audi A1 is a great example of a premium first car.

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audi-a1

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Just like BMW, Mercedes-Benz saw a huge opportunity to create an entry-level hatchback, triggering the rebirth of the A-Class in 2013.

The car introduces a new type of buyer to the brand, and a more affordable Mercedes-Benz is good for business, and its introduction was good news for the younger motorist. Since the A-Class was launched, the car has sold well and features typical Mercedes-Benz quality, a premium image and of course the all-important Mercedes-Benz badge.

Used examples make an ideal premium car for the young driver and come in various trim levels. Incidentally, the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class showcased the company's all new digital instrument cluster technology, showing just how important an entry-level car can be.

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mercedes-benz-a-class

And that concludes our Premium First Cars for Young Drivers. The three major German manufacturers are all involved and this is great news for the younger motorist, in an ever-changing automotive world.

Don't see anything that you like? These manufacturers offer other premium cars ideal for a first time driver, looking for a premium entry into motoring, with cars like the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 other great examples.

Manufacturers such as Volkswagen also offer premium alternatives too, along with Alfa Romeo and Volvo.

Why not look at our used cars to see what you can find!