March 15, 2013

Review: BMW 1 Series

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).

All versions of the 1 Series, including the new electric, have 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.

If you have a family of more than five, or if your children play large instruments such as cellos, the 1 Series is not for you. Storage space and the back seat take - well, the back seat.

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.

BMW's engineers live in a country where there are no posted speed limits on those parts of the highways marked with the "end all limits" sign. There is an advisory speed limit of 130kph (81mph), but it is almost universally honoured in the breach.

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.

That 118d gets 45 mpg, twice the fuel efficiency of the 128i. At 19% more torque.

Just sayin'.


BMW 128i, 120i, 118d

128i Coupe
120i SE Coupé
118d SE Hatch (EU)
Type 2-door (E82) 2-door 5-door (F20)
Year 2013 2013 2013
Emissions rating EURO5 "D" EURO5 "B" EURO5 "A"
$ 31,200
£ 24,620
($ 37,130)
£ 22,240
($ 33,540)
CelloMom Rating
Fuel Economy:
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
(36 mpg)
4.1 L/100km
(57 mpg)
CO2 quoted 152 g/km 109 g/km
Avg. actual 30 mpg 45 mpg
Engine 3.0L I6 2.0L 2.0L
Power 230 hp
@ 6500 rpm
170 hp
@6700 rpm
143 hp
@4000 rpm
Torque 200 lb-ft
@2750 rpm
@4250 rpm
Transmission 6-spd man 6-spd man 6-spd man
Fuel unleaded
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
(132 mph)




You may also like:
1. Why Discrimination is as Senseless for Cars as it is for Humans
2. Boys with (Electric) Toys
3. All-wheel drive (AWD): not all it's cranked up to be.


No comments:

Post a Comment

You have an opinion: Let's hear it.
(Comments are moderated; please be patient).