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Old 08-30-2007, 04:44 AM
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Default EXCLUSIVE: Up-close and personal with the upcoming BMW 1-Series.

Up-close and personal with the upcoming BMW 1-Series

Words and images by Tom "theroyalwe" Davis

At the BMW Experience event, my group of BMW Center personnel was treated to a few very special new vehicles. The one of the most interest to me was the upcoming 1-Series. This special event marked the first time the 1 had been brought to the US. Even better, it will be coming to the US as only a coupe and convertible!

Now, it is important to note that, had I been at one of the earlier venues for this event, I would have had to turn in my camera and cell phone because this car had not yet been released to the press. Onward...

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There it is, the 135i Coupe. This car is going to turn the BMW world upside down next year! We didn't get the chance to drive the car, but we were allowed to crawl around inside and generally violate the pre-production prototype.

First, lets talk about the exterior. One thing you see brought up in all of the press material is how the upright grill and long hood accentuate the power coming from the engine.

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It's true. The 1-Series will come to the US with two of the best engines ever produced by the boys in Munich. The model on display was the 135i, but I want to take a second to discuss the 128i.

As the 'entry' model, the 128i will be priced very competitively and, at 230hp, it will be no slouch. Let's put it this way: It wasn't until 2004 or so that the 330i, the top model of the 3-Series, had this much horsepower. This high tech mill features Dual VANOS and Valvetronic technologies, which will provide excellent torque across the powerband and impressive fuel economy for the amount of power.

The 128i will not have the M-tech aerodynamic kit, but it will certainly get the brilliant suspension and bodywork that will surely be the 1's trademark.

Onto the 135i. With 300hp and 300 ft-lbs of torque you can expect this car to be an absolute rocket. I'll even go so far as to say that a slightly tweaked 135i should be able to keep up with the upcoming M3!

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Here you can clearly see the BMW DNA in the rear-end. It's smooth and muscular with high shoulders and sharp creases. In person, the car truly looks like it's moving while standing still.

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Did I mention we were able to crawl around inside? The first thing that struck me was how similar it is to the 3-Series. The interior is unmistakably BMW.

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The pre-production model on display was Jet Black with the fantastic Lemon interior. I really hope this option carries over as Lemon is currently only available on the 3-Series sedan here in the US.

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This cracked me up a bit. Did I mention the display car was pre-production?

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In the interior department, it's about on-par with the E46 3-Series. I was able to sit comfortably in the back seat with enough room for another adult to squeeze in the front seat. I wouldn't want to do it all the time, but I'm 6'4" so those of average height shouldn't find it too difficult to fit four people.

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What about trunk space? Obviously, it's not as large as the 3-Series, but it isn't too bad either. Keep in mind I drive a MINI, so this is enormous in comparison.

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While the trunk was open I decided to peek under the floor. Guess what I found?

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In there with the battery is a First Aid kit which has been borrowed from the BMW parts bin. My guess is that the next time you see something like this it will be re-badged.

All in all, this car is nothing short of fantastic. I fully expect the demand for these amazing little cars to exceed production capacity for the next few years. Thanks BMW, you've really brought the spirit of the 2002 back to us. Affordable performance with a Roundel attached? Crazy!

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Last edited by iDiaz; 08-30-2007 at 05:52 AM..
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Old 08-30-2007, 04:48 AM
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