|1 Series - E87 (2004 - ...)|
|Chassis and Suspension|
|Safety and Equipment|
With its front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, the new BMW 1 Series will appeal to customers looking for a driving experience never before offered in a compact hatchback. Early predictions are that at launch 70 per cent of purchasers will be newcomers to the BMW badge, mainly from the front-wheel drive hatchbacks offered by Audi, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Alfa Romeo. BMW also expects owners of high-specification hatchbacks from the likes of Ford and Renault to trade up to the new 1 Series. Coupled with the fact that BMW sees a new premium executive sector developing around the 1 Series and expanding by over 80 per cent during the next 10 years, the future of the 1 Series looks very promising.
“We are very confident that with 1 Series we will offer discerning customers a unique proposition that will win them over to BMW,” explained Jim O’Donnell, managing director of BMW GB. “We haven’t developed this new model to entice MINI or 3 Series owners: we are attacking a new segment and we expect to attract a very high proportion of customers who are new to BMW. Conquesting is the name of the game and our target competitors are a broad church.”
Early indications are that the average owner will be aged between 20 to 40 years old, without children or with a very young family, who has historically not had his or her driving ambitions satisfied in this segment. The sales split between corporate and private buyers is predicted to be 45:55, with BMW expecting to tempt more women to the brand. BMW expects to sell c.5,000 cars in 2004 and c.17,000 in 2005.
BMW 1 Series owners will be assured of a rewarding long-term relationship with the three-year unlimited mileage manufacturer’s warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion and six-year paint warranty. The 1 Series is also the latest BMW to be offered with a Service Inclusive package. For only £500.00, cost of ownership is significantly reduced with all major maintenance and repairs for five years or 60,000 miles covered by the package that is transferable to a new owner should the car be sold within that time frame.
Residual value predictions are also strong for the 1 Series. According to Glass’s Guide, when compared to their nominated competitors (Audi A3 2.0Tdi Sport, Mercedes Benz C200Cdi Sports Coupe, VW Golf 2.0 GT TDi), the BMW 120d Sport will retain 80 per cent of its value after one year or 20,000 miles (76 / 69 / 76 respectively), 62 per cent after two years or 40,000 miles (62 / 54 / 58 respectively) and 49 per cent of its original retail value after 3 years or 60,000 miles (45 / 32 / 45 respectively). Similarly high-value residuals are predicted by CAP Monitor with 1 Series SE models commanding a three year residual figure of 49 per cent.
The BMW 1 Series might be an all-new model in the company’s line-up, but the heritage of the marque shines through. Unmistakable BMW features such as the double headlights, kidney grille and Hofmeister kink are all present. Sitting on a wheelbase of 2,660mm and with short overhangs, 737mm front and 830mm rear, the 1 Series has an air of the BMW Z4 and historic M Roadster about it. The striking lines cut a swathe through the air too with the aerodynamic body of the 1 Series helping to post a class-leading drag co-efficient of 0.29 (116i).
Visually its dimensions and styling are almost coupé-like, but internally the car is capacious with the height from the seat base to the roof lining measuring 963mm in the front and 967mm in the rear, providing ample headroom for tall passengers. Furthermore, the 1 Series offers occupants class-leading shoulder and elbow room for greater comfort. Another clear benefit of the front-engine, rear-drive layout is that the driver will also appreciate accelerator, brake and clutch pedals that are centrally located and not offset compared to its front-wheel drive competitors.
Sharing technology with the larger models, the 1 Series can be specified with iDrive, including Professional or Business navigation systems, Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC), front and rear Park Distance Control with pictogram, Bluetooth telephone connectivity and Xenon headlamps.
A distinct reference to the car’s sporting aspirations sits on the dashboard, with its standard Z8-style starter button. Pressing the button after inserting the new-style key fires up the technologically advanced four-cylinder engines. The newly-designed key retains the advanced Key Memory feature common to all BMWs. Courtesy of a microchip located inside the key, the 1 Series recognises which of the two keys supplied with the car is being used and alters door mirrors, air conditioning, radio and electric seat settings accordingly.
Further personalisation is possible, with the owner able to specify the interior in either fabric upholstery or optional leather. Optional sports seats, derived from those in the M3, provide the 1 Series driver with the ability to adjust the side bolsters for the optimum lateral support. Again, further recognition of the 1 Series as a driver’s car. In the rear, boot capacity is 330-litres with the seats raised and with the rear seats spilt 60:40, the virtually flat load floor offers 1,150 litres of storage space.