BMW has announced an all-new 1 Series five-door rear-wheel drive sports tourer hatch which will be unveiled to the public at the Paris Motor Show this September. The new premium compact will make its Australian debut just weeks later at the Sydney International Motor Show where it is sure to be one of the stars of the show.
BMW Group Australia plans to release two models initially, the 116i and the 120i. Both are powered by four-cylinder engines boasting excellent power and torque as well as frugal use of fuel and low exhaust emissions, meeting stringent EU4 requirements.
The 1.6-litre four-cylinder 116i engine produces 85 kW at 6,000 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 4,300 rpm. It propels the 116i to 100 km/h in just 10.8 seconds and endows it with a top speed of 200 km/h, using just 7.5 ltr/100km on the EU cycle.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine in the 120i produces 110 kW at 6,200 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 3,600 rpm. It races to 100km/h in 8.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 217 km/h, using 7.4 ltr/100km on the EU cycle.
The 1 Series is the only car in its class to offer rear-wheel drive, six-speeds for both manual and automatic transmissions (five -speed manual in the 116i), while 16-inch wheels use run-flat tyres.
Ideal weight distribution allows the aluminium front axle and five-link rear suspension to keep the car glued to the road under even the most arduous and spirited driving conditions.
Thanks to its agility and steering precision unique in the compact class, the BMW 1 Series ensures both sporty and smooth handling either on challenging country roads or carving a path through congested city streets. Even in the tightest of bends torque steer is utterly absent and the rear wheels enjoy optimal traction.
The 1 Series may be compact externally, at 4230mm long, a full 240mm shorter than a 3 Series sedan, but it is spacious inside, with the additional benefit of being able to accommodate up to 1150-litres of luggage space.
The 1 Series will boast traditional levels of BMW refinement and technology, putting it head and shoulders above any perceived rivals.
BMW 1 Series customers can enjoy optional Bluetooth mobile interface, sports seats with backrest width adjustment, acoustic PDC Park Distance Control front and rear, Bi-Xenon headlights and a choice of high-performance audio and navigation systems, which can also be operated centrally or by voice control utilising the BMW state-of-the-art iDrive.
The 1 Series features push-button starting and a full complement of active and passive safety features including front and rear head airbags, DSC Dynamic Stability Control, DBC Dynamic Brake Control, Electronic Differential Lock and large disc brakes all round.
BMW expects the optimised steel shell to secure a five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating for occupant protection.
A long wheelbase with a short front overhang, low, sporty roofline and the traditional C-pillar kink are joined by the characteristic BMW face comprising 'kidney' grille and double headlamps. The stiff sleek body boasts a commendably low 0.29 drag coefficient.
At the rear, the practical hatch opens to reveal a variable luggage compartment that offers the driver and passengers between 330 and 1150 litres of storage space capable of swallowing many of the diverse items of sporting equipment favoured by customers pursuing active lifestyles.
The BMW 1 Series is manufactured at the ultra-modern Regensburg plant, utilising production facilities which provide some of the highest possible levels of flexibility and model diversity in the automotive industry, but which at the same time offer the best possible standard of present-day workplace ergonomics.
With the BMW 1 Series, the BMW Group is laying what it believes is an important cornerstone for further profitable growth, based on its market research which suggests the premium segment of the compact class is the market with the largest potential worldwide.
Thanks to its unique vehicle concept, the BMW 1 Series will gain a disproportionately large share of the market and contribute to a further sharpening of the BMW brand profile.
'The BMW 1 Series promises all the driver excitement and performance BMW customers demand, remaining true to our rear-wheel drive 'sheer driving pleasure' philosophy,' said Franz Sauter, Managing Director of BMW Group Australia. 'We eagerly await the 1 Series' arrival later this year.'
Pricing and Australian market specification will be announced closer to the local launch date which is slated for the 4th quarter of 2004.