BMW SA will this week launch the first 1 Series model on the South African market. There is already a waiting list of six months for the 120i, indicating that the subcompact market is set for a major shake-up – as long as BMW can satisfy demand for the car.

BMW SA will this week launch the first 1 Series model on the South African market. There is already a waiting list of six months for the 120i, indicating that the subcompact market is set for a major shake-up – as long as BMW can satisfy demand for the car.


The 1 Series was always intended to have a rear-wheel drive layout and handling characteristics and BMW design trademarks - the front kidney grille, flame-surfaced side panels, multiple-radius double headlamps and 'Hofmeister kink' on the C-pillar.


BMW Group design chief Chris Bangle recently said that the 1 Series “set out to prove that small cars can be premium cars”.


"This car does the job of premium, not the same way as the Mini, but more in the way of a classic BMW. The drive dynamic, the whole package, has the look and feel that tells you it's about serious professionalism at work," the controversial designer said. "The 1 Series is a rocket. That car is just tearing off. With front-engine, rear-drive proportions, that's what you do. When you look at the car from the side for any length of time, you realise you've never seen a car with those proportions”.


The 1 Series model's engine fires up at the push of a starter button. Fitted with an aluminium front axle and five-link rear suspension, the 1 Series has 50:50 weight distribution and a drag coefficient of 0.29. Sixteen-inch run-flat tyres are standard.


The cars are 4,23 metres long, but have relatively long wheelbases of 2,88 metres. That's why BMW claims that the 1 Series, despite its rear-wheel drive layout, offers "ample shoulder and legroom for rear passengers and, thanks to split fold rear seats that fold virtually flat, a similarly generous luggage capacity of between 330 to 1150 litres of storage space".


The first model to be launched is a four-cylinder petrol 120i, fitted with a 110 kW two-litre Valvetronic Double Vanos-equipped petrol engine producing 200 N.m at 3 600 r/min. BMW claims the 120i should sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 8,7 seconds before achieving a maximum speed of 217 km/h – and there will be a full road test of the model in the October edition of CAR Magazine.


The 120i’s engine is reportedly maintenance free except for filter replacement and an oil change. Valve adjustment is no longer necessary, BMW says, as it is carried out by hydraulic compensating elements and a chain, designed to last as long as the engine, drives the camshafts.


Standard interior equipment on the 120i are: electric windows and mirrors, horizontally and vertically adjustable steering column, air conditioning system with automatic air recirculation and asymmetrically split folding rear seats.


:: To read more about the 120i's specification and upcoming 1 Series models, click here. ::


Prices


116i 5-spd manual* – R190 000

118i 5-spd manual*– R200 000

118i 6-spd Steptronic* – R213 000

120i 6-spd manual – R215 000

120i 6-spd Steptronic – R215 000

120d 6-spd manual* – R235 000

120d 6-spd Steptronic – R250 000


* Available January/February 2005


Article written by

CAR magazine


Used Cars for Sale in South Africa

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