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Car reviews - BMW - 1 Series - 123d range

Our Opinion

We like
Almost everything about the 123d Coupe – the economy, relative affordability, hatchback practicality, low CO2 figures, outstanding torque delivery …
Room for improvement
Cabin feeling a bit old now, ride on urban surfaces may be a tad firm for some

BMW logo10 Dec 2009

WE couldn’t wait for the twin-turbo diesel 1 Series, and we have to say from the onset we were not disappointed.

Armed with the charming and focussed 123d Coupe, we realised that BMW has created a sports coupe that can be all things to all people.

For starters, it is a great looking design with real presence and an attitude to match – although we’re starting to become a little tired of the plasticky cabins that inflicted this mid-2000s era BMW range of cars.

Yet there is no denying the great seats, excellent driving position, and sense of occasion the moment you feather the throttle and the 400Nm of torque is roused.

Mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, the 123d Coupe whirrs forward with a likeable combination of urgency and calmness, whisking its occupants across the tarmac with stupendously little effort.

Throw in weighty and meaty steering (that could do with a bit more feedback, actually), and a firm but perfectly sprung ride for a sports coupe, and the 123d makes for a rapid and refined real-world sports car.

And then look at those mileage and CO2 figures – 5.6L/100km and 148g/km for the auto version we sampled for all too brief a time –and you realise that in a way, the 123d Coupe future-proofs its owners against oscillating fuel prices and the possibility of punitive pollution taxes. We say: bring them on!

Buy the six-speed manual model – 5.2L/100km and 138g/km – and you are even better placed.

So the 123d – taut, tight and thrifty yet a thrill to drive fast – more than lived up to our considerable expectations.

Unfortunately, we could only drive the car on a 40km country road course, so a more thorough appointment with the burly little BMW is sorely requested.

But on first acquaintance we could pretty much guarantee that you won’t be let down.

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