2011 BMW 1 Series Preview

FAST FACTS
  • New optional 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • Rear-wheel-drive powertrain appeals to driving enthusiasts
  • Standard 230-hp, 3.0-liter inline-6 (128i Coupe and 128iConvertible)
  • Standard 300-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (135i Coupe and135iConvertible)

Highlights

  • Manufactured in Germany
  • New single-turbo, 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine
  • Standard 6-speed manual transmission
  • Optional 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Available no-cost leather upholstery
  • Available no-cost iPod integration

Introduction

In production in Europe since 2004, but only available in North Americasince 2008, the BMW 1 Series is a compact sports coupe orconvertiblebased on the larger 3 Series platform. Unlike most other cars in thissegment, the performance-oriented 1 Series is rear-wheel drive with alongitudinally-mounted engine. Furthering its sporty credentials, BMWoffers two 6-cylinder powerplants, including a 300-hp turbochargedvariant.

For now-pending the arrival of a future front-wheel-drive modelpositioned below the 1 Series-the 1 Series is the least expensive modelin the BMW lineup. But don't consider it entry-level; the automaker hasfitted the 1 Series with a comfortable interior, sporty suspension, andsome of its most popular engines. While last year's 135i models werefitted with the "N54" twin-turbocharged engine, a new "N55"single-turbocharged engine takes its place for 2011. In addition, BMWwill offer its 7-speed DCT "dual-clutch" transmission. Leather and iPodintegration become no-cost options as well.

Rumored to arrive later in 2011 is a new "M" model, promisingperformance on par with the 3 Series-based "M3," but at a lower pricepoint.

Overview

The BMW 1 Series is offered in two different body styles-a coupe or aconvertible with a power-operated cloth top-for a total of fourdifferent models. The 128i Coupe and 128i Convertible are powered by a3.0-liter inline-6 engine rated at 230 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. oftorque.

The 135i Coupe and 135i Convertible are fitted with asingle-turbocharged, 3.0-liter, inline 6-cylinder engine rated at 300horsepower and 300 lb.-ft. of torque. The standard transmission is a6-speed manual. New for 2011 is a 7-speed dual-clutch automatictransmission, designed to be sportier in operation than the optional6-speed traditional automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard.

All BMW 1 Series models have independent suspension all around, with analuminum double-pivot design in front and a lightweight steel 5-linkarrangement in back. Sport suspension tuning is standard on 135imodels. Standard wheels are 17-inch aluminum alloy on 128i models, with18-inch wheels standard on 135i models.

Technology

Being one of the smallest and lightest models in the BMW lineup doeshave its benefits when it comes to performance. To help owners increasethe performance of their rear-wheel-drive 128i and 135i models, BMWoffers an optional "M Sport" package that includes an increased topspeed (150 mph), M sport steering wheel (with paddle shifters onautomatic-equipped vehicles), 18-inch light-alloy double-spoke wheelswith performance-oriented run-flat tires, anthracite (black) headliner,shadowline (black) exterior trim, and sport seats. For drivingenthusiasts, until the rumored 1 Series M-variant debuts in 2011, an MSport package model will have to suffice.