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Car reviews - BMW - 1 Series - 120d 5-dr hatch

Overview

BMW improves its fire-cracking 120d turbo-diesel hatch, but is it worth $50,000?

BMW logo6 Dec 2007

By GEORGIA OCONNELL

FRENCH cars do it. Volkswagen Group and Mercedes-Benz cars do it. And now BMWs do it, too. Performance turbo-diesels, that is. It’s all the rage. Of course, the Bavarian car-maker has been at it overseas for decades, but only recently has our fuel been low enough in sulphur for BMW to begin importation of its 1, 3 and 5 Series diesels. In early 2007, the smallest – the 120d – received a torquier, more economical engine in the mildly facelifted Series II. At around $50,000, it’s expensive. But is it worth the extra over the superb Ford Focus TDCi and VW Golf GT Sport TDI?
Model release date: 1 March 2007 to 1 August 2009

Previous model

BMW E87 120d

Released: May 2006
Ended: November 2007
Family Tree: 1 Series

Annoyingly for buyers of the original 120d, the car stayed on the market for barely nine months before a slightly torquier and more economical facelift arrived to oust the 130kW/330Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel. That’s progress, but the earlier car is no slouch, injecting a strong, frugal and sporty character to the already quite-special 1 Series five-door hatch. Of course, all the model’s limitations remain – tight rear seat, limited cargo space, small apertures and a firm ride – but for a frugal, involving and satisfying small-car experience, the 2006 120d is hard to beat.

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