BMW’s new model explosion continues with the unveiling today (30 September) of the new 1-series cabriolet, which completes the 1-series range.
On sale from April 2008, the new cabrio slots into the range underneath the 3-series cabriolet at a starting price of around £20,000. The new four-seater will face stiff competition in the form of the forthcoming Audi A3 cabriolet, which goes on sale around the same time but at a lower starting price than and with the option of four-wheel drive.
The 1-series cabriolet shares the same basic body and detailing as the 1-series coupe, but with beefed-up sills and new cross-members to offset the loss of the roof.
A fabric hood was chosen over a folding metal hard-top to reduce weight and complexity. BMW puts the hood’s operation time at 22 seconds, and it can be operated on the move at up to 25mph. Buyers will be able to choose between black or beige, or an anthracite hue that uses metallic fibres to provide the hood with what BMW describes as a ‘shimmering effect’.
Packaging the hood has eaten into boot space. While the 1-series coupe gets a 370-litre boot, the new cabriolet has just 280 litres with the hood up, and 40 litres less when it is stowed. A split-fold rear seat will be available as an option.
The 1-series cabrio will come with a choice of four petrol engines and one diesel. The entry-level car will be the 118i, which uses a 2.0-litre 143bhp four-cylinder.
It will be joined by the 120i with a more powerful 170bhp version of the same engine and the 125i with a relatively mild 218bhp iteration of BMW’s 3.0-litre six. Topping the line-up is the 135i, whose twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre six produces 306bhp and 295lb ft of torque – sufficient for 0-62mph in 5.6sec.
The 135i also gets an otherwise optional M Aerodynamics Package as standard. That means it comes with a modified front bumper with larger air ducts, chrome highlights within the grille, chiselled side sills and 17-inch wheels shod with 205/50 front and 225/45 rear tyres.
The lone diesel, the 120d, receives BMW’s recently updated 177bhp 2.0-litre. As with the petrol fours, it receives automatic start/stop as standard. However, BMW is holding off on providing official fuel consumption and CO2 figures for the diesel until closer to its UK introduction.
All models come with a six-speed manual as standard – a six-speed auto is optional. Brake energy regeneration (in effect a clever alternator) is fitted across the range, and manuals receive a gear shift point indicator.