New BMW previewed
23 June 2004

The early signs are that BMW’s new 1-series hatchback, like other cars made by its parent, looks just as likely to show its rivals the way on the used car forecourt as it will on the road.

According to predictions made by used car valuation specialists Glass’, it won’t be just class-leading dynamics that should attract buyers to Munich’s new kid on the block. Glass’ prediction is that a 120d will retain 48% of its value over three years and 60,000 miles; three per cent more than the equivalent Audi A3 (right), and ten per cent more than VW’s Golf. Glass’ Prestige Car Editor Richard Crosthwaite told Autocar that ‘the 1-series brings the sector forward a long way; it’s a very good car to drive, and the A3 is never going to measure up for driver appeal.’

‘VW’s problem with the Golf is that it’s too expensive. Everyone wants a prestige car, and when there’s so little difference in price between a similar spec Golf and A3, everyone’s going to buy the Audi, and that’s exactly what’s happening. A3s are flying out of showrooms.’

And to prove that it’s not just the propeller that preserves forecourt values, Glass’ predict similarly strong showings for BMWs that don’t wear the blue and white badge. Rolls Royce’s Phantom should hold on to six per cent more of its £252k price tag over the same period than DaimlerChrysler’s Maybach 57, and the Mini Convertible a staggering 56% over three years. ‘Even seven years down the line, these cars will still be worth £5k; they’re bomb-proof.’

Autocar’s own used car expert John Coates is less convinced that BMW’s new babe will put in quite as strong a showing. ‘It’s a BMW, and it’s new – that will count for a lot, but once things settle down, I don’t see the 1-series being much further ahead of the A3. Audi has desirability and proven build quality on its side, and BMW’s badge isn’t as strong as it used to be.’

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