the sharp-suited new
3-door BMW 1 Series
is sure to clean up
not just in CO2 terms,
WITH A RAFT of stringent EU emissions standards due in 2010, car manufacturers
are developing new engine, transmission and bodywork technologies to meet these
impending technological require-ments three years is not long in car manufacturing
In addition, by 2012 it is expected that the EU will require
an average 130g/km CO2 limit across a brand's entire range, although at this stage
manufacturers are still lobbying the powers-that-be on the exact levels they can
This week BMW UK wheeled out their new 1 Series
three-door and revised 5 Series ranges, both encompassing their new Efficient-Dynamics
BMW says their EfficientDynamics programme offers solutions
for pro-viding increased power and performance but with improved economy and lower
emissions. In addition to developing further their high per-formance direct injection
petrol and diesel engines and raising the gear ratios in the transmissions, BMW
is making increasing use of lightweight materials for panels and components. BMW
are also pioneering emis-sion-free Hydrogen fuel usage with their 7 Series, although
no legis-lation is yet in place for the public use of such fuel.
of BMW's EfficientDynamics programme is the new 3-door 1 Series. The original
1 Series was launched in five-door hatchback form in September 2004 and last year
sold 22,033 in the UK. That is a noteworthy 19 per cent of all of BMW's UK sales.
The revised five-door 1-Series went on sale in March 2007 and now the
three-door models have joined the range at prices ranging from £17,815 through
to £23,225. Additional 116i models will be added
to the three-door line-up
in September, with a starting price in the region of £15,900. Five-door models
start at £16,390 and top out at £23,720. Both ranges have M Sport variants with
petrol and diesel engine options.
BMW says that prices for the second-generation
1 Series five-door models have been increased by an average of 2.6 per cent but
that there is over £900 worth of added-value in technology and specif-ication
in the latest cars.
Oliver Parsons, BMW UK's product manager for 1-Series,
of the five-door 1-Series had been 53 per cent to business and
fleet buyers with 60 per cent of them being male users. Many customers had been
drawn from larger, volume selling D-segment models outside the BMW brand and had
wanted a move to a premium C-segment product."
He added: "The introduction
of the three-door models is likely to in-crease demand from private buyers attracted
by the sports styling and a broader choice of frugal petrol and diesel engines.
Sales of all 1 Series models in the UK this year should be around the 23,000 mark."
The likely best-selling three-door variants will be the forthcoming
116i petrol and current 118d diesel models, which will each account for 30 per
cent of 1 Series sales.
Tim Abbott, BMW UK sales director, said: "The
launch of a revised 1 Series with its new, EfficientDynamics-inspired drivetrain
will see the Series maintain a market-leading position in terms of performance,
economy and emissions. It's a bold claim but one which is backed
up with figures. The average 12,000 mile-a-year driver of a new 1 Series can expect
to save up to £250 off his fuel bill compared to the out-going model. Business
users are similarly better off by more than £500 with a reduction in company car
tax courtesy of lower CO2 emissions. All this in a vehicle with higher engine
power output and better per-formance figures."
At the core of the revised
BMW 1 Series drivetrain are Efficient-Dynamics technologies. Innovations such
as Brake Energy Regener-ation, Auto Start-Stop and Electric Power Steering are
with lower rolling resistant tyres and an optimum gearshift indicator
to deliver economical motoring.
The Brake Energy Regeneration (iGR),
which makes its debut on the 1 Series, uses an Intelligent Alternator Control
and an Absorbent Glass Mat battery to recycle previously lost energy; in turn
saving fuel. This is achieved as the IAC reduces drag on the engine by only engaging
when required to charge the battery, whereas a traditional alternator
pulling power from the engine. Additionally, the energy gener-ated by the engine
on over-run (under braking or descending a hill) was previously wasted. Now this
lost energy is utilised by the IAC to charge the battery. Overall, iGR alone benefits
fuel economy to the tune of a three per cent improvement.
The new 1
Series also comes with Automatic Start-Stop function to further cut fuel consumption.
Standard on all manual transmission models (except the 130i), the system automatically
switches the engine off when the vehicle is stationary and the driver puts the
car into neutral. To restart, the driver only need engage the clutch again before
pulling away in the normal manner. Should he/she not want to use the Automatic
Start-Stop function, it can be manually switched off.
The use of Electric
Power Steering results in a massive 90 per cent energy saving compared to a conventional
mechanical hydraulic steer-ing system. Power assistance is now provided by an
electric motor that works only when required, such as when turning a corner. Other
fuel-saving enhancements have been made courtesy of various ancillary devices,
such as the air-conditioning power supply being disconnected from the drivetrain
when not in use. Even flaps behind the kidney grille improve economy by closing
up for improved aerodynamic efficiency should the engine require less airflow,
a feature which also improves cold starting times.
are in addition to the use of variable-valve tech-nologies and, for the first
time on the 1 Series, high-precision direct injection engines on most petrol models
that boost power output but, at the same time, cut fuel consumption and emissions.
BMW says the 118d is BMW's most economical car managing
a record 60.1mpg. Aside from the BMW Hydrogen 7, the BMW 118d posts the lowest
ever CO2 emissions of any BMW. Its 123g/km CO2 figure (down a commendable 18 per
cent) puts it into the Band C (£115 per year) category for Vehicle Excise Duty.
Exasperatingly for BMW and its customers, that is a mere 3 g/km higher
than needed to meet the Band B £35 road tax level, and puts it just outside the
proposed London Congestion Charge exemption level of 120g/km. BMW says they are
aware of this issue and working towards getting the 118d engine down to the 120g/km
The BMW 1 Series three-door models add a new dimension to the
range. The core styling is the same as the previous five-door but is now more
refined, thanks to subtle changes all around the car.
The alterations to
the kidney grille (larger for improved airflow to the engine) and whole refreshed
front end make the car look lower.
The two wider passenger doors with frameless
coupé-style windows impart the side elevation with a sleekly stretched sporting
Inside there has been a general upgrading of controls and trim mat-erials
to improve the premium appeal. The folding/split rear seats and rear hatch make
it a versatile newcomer.
For the record, customers can choose between
either a four-seat or a five-seat configuration. In the four-seat arrangement,
rear passengers are separated by a central storage compartment and sit in more
sculp-tured seats. As a no-cost option, the five-seat layout offers the trad-itional
bench seat that is standard on the five-door 1 Series.
But it is the
technical aspects that EfficientDynamics bring to the new models that will appeal
most. It is good to report that none are really intrusive and performance is not
blunted or driving pleasure reduced. The automatic stop-start system works well:
at traffic lights put the gearbox in neutral and the engine stops; put your foot
on the clutch and the engines restarts. Simple.
The brake energy regeneration,
electric power steering and low rolling resistance tyres all seem to work well
47mpg recorded for the 118d model with some swift driving on A and
B class roads on my brief first drive.
The overall gearing is now quite
'tall' or 'high' in order to get the better fuel economy figures, so consequently
more use has to be made of
the 6-speed manual gearbox; although happily the
engine remains flex-ible enough. The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel unit
produces 141 bhp (up 21bhp) along with a hefty 221lb ft (up 15lb ft) of torque
The resulting performance figures 130mph
and 0-62mph covered
in 8.9 seconds and an official combined fuel consumption
figure of 60.1mpg speak for themselves.
safety is as important to BMW as the cutting-edge economy technology and all 1
Series models come with Dynamic Sta-bility Control with Dynamic Traction Control
for the best combination of driving pleasure and safety. DSC allows drivers to
make the most of the 1 Series' 50:50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive
configuration for the optimum on-road performance. In addition, all 1 Series models
are fitted as standard with six airbags, the Brake Force Display function on the
rear lights to highlight sharp braking and Run-flat tyres with a Tyre Puncture
Looking at the new 1 Series' revised, more polished
styling and taking into account the technological advancements, low taxation and
low fuel costs, more than enough drivers will want to see one on their driveway
to ensure that BMW UK easily reaches its 2007 sales targets. David Miles
118d 3-door SE | £20,175
speed: 130mph | 0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
Overall test MPG: 47mpg | 141bhp | 221lb ft
BMW 118d 3-door