What is it?
The new BMW 1-series coupé is a hugely significant car. Forget the paltry projected sales figures (BMW GB expects to sell no more than 3600 a year of all variants), and forget the, er, challenging visual detailing. In fact, you can even forget about the mouthwateringly powerful 135i that we drove last week.
Why? Because I would bet several of my limbs that history will record the 1-series coupé as important for one reason. And that reason is the 123d or, more specifically, the 201bhp twin-turbo turbodiesel under the bonnet.
If that sounds like so much hyperbole, then consider a few key facts. This is the most powerful four-pot turbodiesel you can buy, as well as being the first one on sale equipped with twin turbos (not a twin-scroll turbo).
But the killer point is that all this comes coupled with serious green credentials. So you get 295lb ft, 0-62mph in 7.0sec and a 148mph top speed at the same time as 54.7mpg and 138g/km of CO2. That’s the same CO2 output as a Skoda Roomster diesel.
What’s it like?
The 123d’s performance on the road is equally impressive, with a smooth, linear power delivery providing decent shove from 1800rpm right up to 4500rpm. It’s pretty refined, too, though not as sonorous as a BMW or Audi six-cylinder diesel.