BMW 1-series coupe and convertible: the lowdown
BMW is the past master of massaging model ranges to fill every niche; just look at the myriad bodystyles and engines available in the 3-series. Small wonder it's now conceiving further progeny of the 1-series family - and we've got the latest photos to prove Munich's smallest range will include a coupe and convertible. Caught during Scandinavian cold-weather testing are the E82 coupe and E88 soft-top - just two of the swelling 1-series brood. And it won't end here: on top of today's three- and five-door hatches, unusual Sportvan and estate bodystyles are also under consideration. A One for every taste, seems to be flavour of the day in Munich.
Up close: the 1-series coupe
First up is this 1-series coupe, expected to turn up at the Los Angeles Motor Show this autumn - a few months ahead of the convertible. This duo are likely to sell strongly in America, hence the Stateside debuts. The notchback will keep familiar 1-series styling at the front, but its rear end will be a mix of coupe/saloon, creating a usefully large boot. Don't expect much in the way of rear-seat space, though. And it looks like the 1-series badge will stay; the 2-series name was considered for the two-doors, but BMW reckons it wouldn't get the shared benefit of promoting a single range - and the halo cars wouldn't have the desired effect on the estate agent repmobile 116i specials. So 1-series it is, then.
Up close: the 1-series convertible
We'll see the soft-top One in 2008. No folding hard-tops here - BM's smallest convertible sticks with a classic fabric roof, electrically operated. Under that disguise, you'll see a car that's extraordinarily close to the CS1 concept of 2002. Do you remember how wacky we thought that car looked five years ago? It was one of the concepts that heralded massive change in Munich's design department... The convertible's rear seats won't be comfy for many occupants, but the boot is said to hold 250 litres of luggage even with the roof down.
What's in the engine department?
A mix of four- and six-cylinder engines will be offered on the new two-door Ones, stretching from 1.6 to 3.0, depending on the size of your wallet. The fastest ones use the 3.0-litre straight six with 258bhp - although rumours persist of an M version, touted to use the outgoing M3's 343bhp straight six. Beneath the skin, the 1- and 3-series are much more closely related than their appearance reveals, sharing around 60 percent parts. BMW plans to build 70,000 coupes and cabriolets a year once sales are in full swing.