Monday, June 28, 2010

BMW 1 Series Offers a Good Thing in a Small Package

It's often said that good things come in small packages.
For driving enthusiasts, BMW is a good thing. And one of its small vehicle packages, the BMW 1 Series, is surely a good thing, providing robust performance and power and lots of goodies.
The 1 Series includes the 128i model and the 135i, which is turbocharged. The latter features a 300-horsepower, 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine linked to a six-speed automatic or manual transmission.
BMW says the 135 goes from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
Fuel economy is rated at 17-18 mpg city and 25-26 highway.
The 1 Series first came to the U.S. in 2008. The small coupe and soft convertible compete with such models as the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Infiniti G37.
Where it might struggle against those models, though, is on sticker price.
The test-drive model went for around $41,000, and didn't have a sunroof or a few other features you might expect at that price.
The 1 Series nominally seats two, and there is a rear seat option that also is said to seat two, but really, don't try to fit two folks who are larger than a bag of Doritos back there.
But the 60/40-split folding seat does give you more trunk room -- BMW says about 13 cubic feet.
The collection of safety features on the 135 is strong, such as side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for front and rear and antilock brakes.
You also get standard adaptive headlights, which track the direction that you are steering.
Other convenience features include heated side-view mirrors and windshield washer jets, rain-sensing wipers and, on the convertible, a power soft top that can open or close in 22 seconds.
A leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, 10-speaker stereo with a CD player and MP3 capability also come standard.
Navigation systems are increasingly popular these days, and you can get one as an option on the 1 Series, but note that it uses BMW’s iDrive control system, which has drawn plenty of criticism for its perceived lack of user friendliness.
All in all, though, if you really want the BMW Ultimate Driving Experience, as the company slogan goes, and you want it in a nice, compact package, the 1 Series is not a bad way to go.

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