BMW's 1 Series come in several flavours: Coupé, Convertible, and Sports Hatch. Of which only the first two have found their way to the US, and only since model year 2008. Before that, BMW USA looked like they didn't know how to count, starting as they did from 3 (sort of like Audi's position now -- because of course there is an Audi A1).rear-wheel drive. It is the 50%-50% front-to-back weight distribution and the fact that the front wheels are dedicated to steering, that give the legendary handling characteristic of BMW.
But if you don't have a lot of people, or stuff, to move around, these are fun to drive. Summer 2011, I drove a 118d M Sport hatch for two weeks in Yorkshire, UK (this was an E87 body, one generation before today's F20 hatch). It was my first extended acquaintance with a modern diesel engine. Even occupied by my family of four plus luggage - but no cello - and even with the shift stick in my left hand, it required concentration to keep the car from zipping around: it's the comparatively large torque delivered by a turbodiesel. This engine was happiest humming along in 5th or 6th gear. It was the darndest thing: on motorways, the car kept gravitating toward the right (fast) lane.
The 3.0L 6-cylinder engine available in the US is, of course, way too much for a car this size. It starts at 230HP but you can buy it turbocharged to 300HP. In a car this size, an engine like that is frankly monstrous, and gets you from one traffic light to the next in no time at all. But there is no place in the US where you can legally enjoy pushing it to its maximum speed. In fact, a maximum speed is not even mentioned on BMW's USA website.
The truth is that the 120i Coupé, with its 2.0L engine (170 HP, see table below) will get this car to speeds up to 224 kph. Translation: that's 139 mph, or 64% more than the highest speed limit posted in the US (85mph, on a stretch of Texas State Highway 130).
The sweetest option in this series is the 2.0L turbodiesel engine of the 118d hatch or coupé (143 HP). Maximum speed: 212 kph.
BMW 128i, 120i, 118d
|128i Coupe |
|120i SE Coupé |
|118d SE Hatch (EU)|
|Type||2-door (E82)||2-door||5-door (F20)|
|Emissions rating||EURO5 "D"||EURO5 "B"||EURO5 "A"|
|£ 24,620 |
|£ 22,240 |
|City/Hwy quoted||18 / 28 mpg||8.5 / 5.3 L/100km||5.1 / 3.6 L/100km|
|Avg. quoted||22 mpg||6.5 L/100km |
|4.1 L/100km |
|CO2 quoted||152 g/km||109 g/km|
|Avg. actual||30 mpg||45 mpg|
|Power||230 hp |
@ 6500 rpm
|170 hp |
|143 hp |
|Torque||200 lb-ft |
|Transmission||6-spd man||6-spd man||6-spd man|
|Length, mm(in)||172.2 in||4360mm||4324mm|
|Width, mm(in)||68.8 in||1919mm||1964mm|
|Height, mm(in)||56.0 in||1423mm||1421mm|
|Weight, kg(lbs)||3208 lbs||1375 kg||1395 kg|
|Trunk volume, liters(cuft)|
|Turning radius, m(ft)|
|Top speed, kph(mph)||224kph |
|212 kph |