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Sharp starting price for new BMW 1 Series

Slim figure: The second-generation BMW 1 Series hatch range will kick off from a lower than expected $36,900.

BMW seeks to seize prestige small car leadership with cheaper 1 Series

23 Aug 2011

BMW has announced a sharp starting price for its roomier, quicker and more fuel-efficient second-generation 1 Series five-door hatch ahead of its Australian launch in October.

The entry-level 116i six-speed manual will retail from $36,900 (plus on-roads) – $2100 less than the current entry-level 118i, which sells from $39,000 (plus on-roads).

The lower-than-expected starting point means the new baby Beemer will undercut prestige small-car rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz B-class, Audi A3, Lexus CT200h, Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Mini Clubman.

BMW Group Australia managing director Phil Horton said: “The 1 Series is widely recognised as the category benchmark in driving dynamics and in terms of value it is now more competitive than ever before.” The new base-model 1 Series also get more equipment, including standard fare such as a 6.5-inch free-standing flatscreen display, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, MP3 compatibility, cruise control with brake function, keyless start, the latest iDrive interface and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Park Assist, a rear-view camera and lane departure warning will be available as optional extras on all models.

The new 116i is powered by a new 1.6-litre twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing the same 100kW of power as the current entry-level model and a healthy 220Nm of peak torque (up from 180Nm) available from 1350-4300rpm

14 center imageThe 116i can leap from zero to 100km/h in 8.5 seconds, almost a full second less than current entry-level model.

As GoAuto reported in June, the entire 1 Series hatch range will also get a first-in-class ZF eight speed automatic transmission option.

The second-generation model has retained the outgoing car’s rear-wheel drive configuration and gained BMW’s Driving Experience Control system as standard, which lets drivers choose between three set-up modes – Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro.

The Eco Pro setting, based on BMW EfficientDynamics technology, optimises fuel usage by altering the engine mapping and climate-control systems.

Standard fare like this Eco Pro system and idle-stop technology bring big gains in fuel economy, with claimed consumption on the entry-level 116i down 24 per cent over the old model at 5.7 litres per 100km.

The new 1 Series has grown in all key dimensions, including a 30mm-longer (2690mm) wheelbase that is just 70mm shorter than that of the current 3 Series, addressing the major criticism of the outgoing model – rear-seat space.

GoAuto went to Berlin to drive the new 1 Series at the start of August and can attest to the improved comfort in the rear of the car, with better seats and ample leg, head and shoulder room for the average adult a notable feature.

The car retains the same 1421mm height as the outgoing model but is 85mm longer overall at 4234mm and 17mm wider at 1765mm. Boot space is now a class-leading 360 litres.

The new 1 Series will also be available with both Urban and Sport Line packages, which give customers the chance to individualise their car by changing design features such as the kidney grille and air intakes and adding features such as exclusive upholstery, a sports steering wheel and unique alloy wheels.

Sold alongside the 100kW/220Nm petrol-engined 116i at the time of launch will be a 118i variant with a more highly-tuned version of the same engine, as well as a 118d turbo-diesel variant.

The petrol powerplant in the misleadingly-named 118i will be tuned to produce 125kW at a low 4800rpm and 250Nm of torque between 1500rpm and 4500rpm.

The diesel-powered 118d features a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder with 105kW at 4000rpm and 320Nm at 1750-2500rpm.

Specifications and prices for these models will be revealed closer to the car’s launch, although if the pricing strategy for the 116i is anything to go by, expect them to be lower than the starting price for the current 120i and 120d variants, which are $43,400 (plus on-roads) and $42,300 (plus on-roads) respectively.

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