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BMW fights back with 1 Series sports

Fightback: BMW's 1 Series coupe and convertible range relinquished sales leadership in its segment in July, falling behind the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-class two-door model.

New M Coupe helps to put spice back into BMW’s market leading 1 Series

30 Aug 2011

BMW Australia is banking on a recent facelift and range extension of its 1 Series Coupe/Convertible to reverse a form slump that has driven down sales of the small Beemer by 32 per cent this year and threatened its position as Australia’s number-one sportscar.

With Mercedes-Benz’s new C-class coupe doing the business in July, topping the sportscar charts with 147 sales in its first month compared with the smaller BMW’s 116 sales, the Beemer coupe and convertible has been topped and tailed with a new M-enhanced flagship coupe at the top of the range, the 1 Series M Coupe, and entry-level 120i Coupe at the bottom.

The 120i now opens the range at $47,400 (plus on-roads), while the fire-breathing M Coupe – powered by a twin-turbo 250kW/450Nm direct-injection inline six-cylinder engine – tops it at $99,900 (see separate story).

Prices of all other models have been held steady at previous levels for both coupe and convertible variants, all of which get a new-look nose and tail that includes redesigned headlights with a new ‘accent line’ running along the top of the cluster.

14 center imageThe front airdam for all coupe and convertible models includes narrow air intakes that direct air over the front wheels – described by BMW as an air curtain – to decrease turbulence down the side of the car at highway speeds.

The Munich-based company claims the system is a world first on a production car and contributes to fuel savings.

Further economy improvements are achieved by a sprinkling of additional EfficientDynamics technologies that include automatic engine idle-stop, shift-point indicators and brake-energy recuperation, depending on the model.

For example, the most efficient 1 Series Convertible, the 118d, trims combined fuel consumption from 4.9 litres per 100km to 4.8L/100km.

The 125i Coupe and Convertible also reduce their combined average fuel consumption figure by a similar amount, down to 8.1L/100km and 8.3L/100km respectively.

A new alloy wheel line-up – including 17-inch wheels on the 123d and 125i variants – also enhance the exterior presentation, along with two new metallic paint colours (Oyster and Savannah).

Inside, a 60/40 split-fold rear seat provides more load versatility.

An M Aerodynamics package is standard on the 135i Convertible, the top of the open-top range, while 135i Coupe buyers can go the whole hog with an M Sport package.

As well, BMW has extended to the 1 Series the ‘Innovations’ package that it says has been popular with 3 Series buyers. The package includes Business Navigation, bi-Xenon headlights (with washers), and high-beam assist.

On the 135i models, a Harmon Kardon surround-sound system is included.

All models have a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a six-speed auto option on all models except the 135i (where a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is optional) and the M Coupe (which has no auto alternative).

So far this year, the luxury sportscar market has felt the heat of economic insecurity, with sales of cars priced under $80,000 slumping 26.1 per cent, and over $80,000 down 23.2 per cent, compared with the overall market’s slip of 5.9 per cent.

BMW 1 SeriesCoupe/Convertible pricing:&nbsp
120i $47,400
120i (a) $49,600
125i&nbsp $55,600
125i (a)$58,564
123d (a)$61,164
135 (a)$78,500
118d (a)$55,400
120i $53,200
120i (a)$55,400
125i (a)$67,864
123d (a)$70,464
135i (a)$86,000

Read more

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