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BMW 1-Series Convertible (2008)

Published: 21 June 2007

BMW 1 series Convertible: the lowdown

We’ve seen a fair bit of the 1-series coupe of late, but its topless sibling has proved more elusive. Hardly surprising – BMW will unveil the E82 tin-top in July, whereas the E88 soft-top won’t be seen until autumn 2007 at one of the American motor shows. But our spies at the Nurburgring have captured the best shots yet of BM’s baby cabrio. Ever keen to pull in a variety of punters, Munich is hellbent on expanding the 1-series range so it mimics the labyrinthine structure of the Three. Sales of the current 1-series hatch haven’t set the sales charts alight (Munich sells 22,000 a year in the UK), so the addition of a sporty coupe and convertible can only swell volumes and profits.

How will the 1-series Convertible differ from the hatch?

The cabrio will mimic the sleeker shape of the coupe, with its familiar flared wheelarches and banana-sculpted side sills, but BMW has stuck two fingers up at the current vogue for balletic metal roofs, preferring a fabric roof for weight and packaging reasons. Small wonder – the One cab is said to have a boot capacity somewhat under 250 litres – less with the roof stowed – and you’ll be unlikely to write home about the rear legroom.

What’s new under the bonnet?

BMW is broadening the appeal of the One with a selection of punchy new engines and new badges to whet enthusiasts’ appetites. And some of the numbers are pretty big. How about the 3-series’ twin-turbo petrol six-pot mustering around 300bhp? That’ll be the range-topping 135i, capable of scuttling to 60mph in the low fives. And we hear there’ll be an intriguingly named 123d, again sporting twin turbos and attached to BMW’s excellent 2.0-litre turbodiesel. Should be enough for around 200bhp, while other, smaller engines will eventually cascade down the range. Keen to stay in the good books with the green lobby, BMW will introduce a myriad of earth-saving technology to the 1-series coupe and cabrio. Expect automatic stop-start, intelligent alternator control and particulates filters for diesels.

Sounds like BM has big plans for the 1. Can we expect anything else in the pipeline?

The next-generation of 1-series is expected to change radically. There’s talk of a Sportvan and an estate version of the 1-series, armed with extra rear legroom to make the One a more credible rival to the VW Golf and Audi A3. And an M-version is still under discussion, which could give new life to the hallowed M1 badge. It could be the last hurrah for the outgoing M3’s 343bhp straight-six.

How much will the convertible set me back?

Prices are yet to be confirmed for the convertible, but the coupe is expected to command a premium of around £1000-£1500 over the regular 1-series hatch, so we’re talking about prices kicking off at around £22,000 for an entry-level 120d cabrio. Right-hand drive sales of the coupe will start in November, while the cabrio pictured won’t arrive in UK showrooms until spring 2008.