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New models - BMW - 1 Series - 120d 5-dr hatch

First drive: BMW's newest diesel is number One!

Significant: BMW thinks the 120d will comprise one-fifth of all 1 Series sales.

120d is BMW's first four-pot diesel, but this small oil-burning hatch is no slouch

31 May 2006

BMW Australia has moved to avail itself of the surge in diesel engines with the arrival this week of the 2.0-litre 120d, a model variant that is expected to make up 20 per cent of overall 1 Series sales.

Joining the 320d small-medium car, 530d large car and the X3 and X5 3.0d 4WDs as the oil-burning Beemers available in Australia, the 120d hatch is priced from $47,800 and is fitted with a six-speed Steptronic automatic as standard.

It shares its 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with the 320d and develops 115kW at 4000rpm and 330Nm at 2000rpm.

Fuel economy is a strongpoint, with a combined cycle of 6.6L/100km, while highway touring will further improve fuel consumption to just 5.5L/100km. With a 51-litre fuel tank, the 120d is claimed to have a touring range of more than 900km.

The arrival of the latest BMW diesel has been prompted by the growing availability of low-sulphur diesel fuel.

In Australia, the overall passenger diesel segment has grown significantly over the past few years.

In 2004 just 1885 diesel passenger cars were sold throughout Australia, but in 2005 demand rocketed with about 6800, representing an increase of 260 per cent in just one year.

So far this year diesel passenger car sales are up 69 per cent with 2205 private buyers opting for this type of engine, according to VFACTS industry figures. Business purchases of diesel are up 109 per cent for the January to April first quarter.

14 center imageDiesel technology boasts other advantages apart from fuel efficiency. It offers strong pulling power from low down the rev range, a feature which BMW claims fits well with the driving dynamics of the 1 Series.

Being a "north-south" rear-drive diesel BMW also claims the car’s handling dynamics are not compromised.

The 120d features the latest-generation common-rail technology with a pressure of 1600 bar, as well as an exhaust gas turbocharger with variable turbine geometry.

BMW claims it offers V6-style performance and will sprint to 100km/h in 8.5 seconds on its way to a 215km/h top speed.

Because of the higher combustion demands, the 120d engine is more heavily reinforced to handle the higher combustion pressures needed for ignition. The engine also has electronic engine noise control and balancer shafts for smooth running.

Standard features on the model include a leather-clad multi-function steering wheel, automatic climate-control air-conditioning, a trip computer, CD stereo and a 60/40 split-fold rear seat.

Also standard are 17-inch "V-spoke" BMW alloy wheels with runflat tyres, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and automatic headlight control.

Among the safety systems onboard are automatic stability and traction (ASC+T) dynamic stability control (DSC), dynamic traction control (DTC), ABS brakes, dynamic brake control, (DBC), cornering brake control (CBC) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD).

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