A 1-series Convertible? Seems like a logical step…
Indeed it does. BMW is gradually filling every niche with every possible model combination. So after three- and five-door hatches, and a coupe, here’s the convertible version of the 1-series. It’s the same formula that BMW has used with the 3-series to such success, and the Bavarians are banking on the Coupe and Convertible to spearhead the launch of the 1-series range in the USA.
So tell me about the roof?
Of course it’s electric, and BMW claims it’s the first premium convertible in this sector. Audi’s A3 cabriolet will be here soon, but it won't arrive until 2008. The 1-series' fabric roof opens and closes in 22 seconds, and can operate at low speeds. For posing value of course. The car will still seat four, but those two poor souls in the back will be very short on leg space. BMW is also claiming a world first with the roof design. As an option, you can elect for an anthracite roof with ‘interwoven shiny fibres’. Basically it's a sparkly roof, or in BMW speak it ‘produces charming reflections in sunlight’. Sounds more like a dodgy sweater your auntie knits for you.
Pretty much as per the Coupe. Four petrol engines from 1.8 to 3.0 litres are available, plus a 2.0-litre diesel. That 3.0-litre is badged as a 135i because it’s the twin-turbo unit. That means 302bhp and 295lb ft from 1300-5000rpm. The 135i also comes with the M Sports pack as standard. Every cabrio comes with BMW's Efficient Dynamics technology. However, only the four-cylinder cars get the full package of stop/start, gearshift indicator, electronic power steering, active aerodynamics, and brake regeneration on some models. The six-cylinder models do without auto stop/start.
The convertible looks unbelievably similar to the CS1 concept (above). How good it actually looks will only be decided when we see it in the metal though the marketing bumf claims the car ‘embodies modern elegance in its appearance’… Hmm. What else is of interest? For a fee BMW will give you special leather to reflect the sun’s rays. Luggage space is 280 litres with the roof up, or 240 with it folded away, so travel light in the latest One. No words on prices yet but expect a 120d to start at just over £23,000 rising to just shy of £35,000 for a 135i. Not cheap but with the twin-turbo engine don't forget this is a junior M3 in all but name.
Does BMW never stop?
Nope. This is the fourth model in the 1-series line-up, and there’ll be a fifth One by 2012. Earlier this week the Bavarians announced their full model line-up for the next five years and it’ll include an X1, alongside brand new models from Rolls-Royce, BMW and Mini. Whether such investment in new products will result in increased profits is another matter. If anything BMW’s are likely to take a further hit before the seeds they sow now start to bear fruit.