28 October 2004

BMW’S 1-series family is set to expand and the car will be launched in the US from 2007, according to company bosses. The long awaited six-cylinder 1-series, which will enable the car to be sold in the USA, is expected to be unveiled in just under 12 months at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Using the same new N52 2.5-litre in-line six-cylinder engine destined for next year’s 325i, the new 125i packs 218bhp and 184lb ft – up by 68bhp and 36lb ft on the 2.0-litre four-cylinder 120i. This engine will also be seen in a new saloon version of the 1-series that will be launched in the US in 2007. BMW says it couldn’t launch the car with four-cylinder engines in the US as buyers there prefer the turbocharged and six-cylinder units offered by rivals such as the Audi A3 and Volvo S40. BMW also thinks American buyers will prefer the saloon format, and is shying away from launching the One in the US until the saloon arrives.

It’s also possible that the 1-series could get the option of all-wheel drive, an increasingly popular option in America. A coupé version is likely, and revisions to improve the One’s much-criticised ride on its run-flat tyres are also rumoured.

In a couple of years BMW is planning a revised line-up of its UK-built four-cylinder engines. With 1.6-, 1.8- and 2.0-litre capacities, the range is dubbed ‘TU2+’. Sources also suggest that all four-cylinder BMWs will also have a six-speed manual transmission as standard.

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