16 July 2007
It may look like a baby coupe in photographs, but just wait
until you hear what's under the bonnet of this diminutive new model from
the boys from Bavaria.
Because the only engine being offered in Australia when the
baby Bimmer reaches Australia Ė perhaps later this year, but
more likely in the first few months of 2008 Ė is a huge
3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol unit producing 300 horsepower, 225 kW,
and 400 Nm.
We have raved about the performance of this superb straight-six
engine in the bigger, heavier 3 Series coupe, and most recently in
the brand new Ď3 convertible, but break into smiles every time
we think about it in a lighter 1 Series.
This little 1 Series machine will be able to scoot from rest to
100 km/h in about 5.3 seconds. It took a Porsche 911 to accelerate
like that only a decade or so back. Now, what will presumably be a
tractable little coupe that can be used as a daily driver, will do
it with ease.
Other engines are on offer in Europe, but they are turbo-diesel
units and the Australian importer is still nervous about buyers
rebelling against diesel sports models in this country. Some of
the other marques already offer diesels in their sports, and BMW
sells turbo-diesel cars and SUVs, but BMW Oz feels it will wait a
little longer before taking the gamble in this country.
Chassis balance is guaranteed in any BMW and this new coupe
should take it to new levels for this class. Expect stability,
excellent feel and safety to combine beautifully in a
There has been speculation that this new BMW has so much
performance that it should rightfully have been called an M1. Thus
making it the smaller brother of the existing M3 and M5 sports
sedans, but BMW has apparently decided against that nomenclature.
Besides the first ever M1 was a rocketship, a full-on sports model
sold in tiny numbers in the late 1970s and early Ď80s. It never
did officially reach Australia and this new car is totally
different to that one, so the 135i it is.
At this stage we havenít had a chance to view the new BMW
series, it wonít go on sale anywhere in the world for several
months, but it looks just so right in the photographs released by
BMW the other day. The front end looks like a modified version of
that already seen in the 1 Series hatch, and the rear is very
modern BMW coupe without any of the somewhat controversial lines
seen on some others in other new-generation BMW ranges.
The BMW 1 Series hatchback is on the tight side in the back
seat. Indeed, we feel itís more of a two-plus-two than a genuine
four-seater. The 1 Series coupe is likely to be even smaller in
the rear, but thatís acceptable in a coupe, so isnít really an
issue. Luggage space will be enhanced by the 1 Series coupe having
a rear-seat backrest that folds down.
How much will the new BMW 135i cost when it arrives in
Australia? Itís too early to say, and the importer wonít give
us any real comments on the matter at this stage. But the BMW 335i
coupe currently costs $111,500 so its smaller brother will have to
be significantly under that. Almost certainly below $100,000, but
time will tell.
In the meantime, anyone who is halfway serious about what looks
to be a brilliant German sports coupe, might be well advised to
have a talk to their local BMW dealer in the not too distant
future, because a waiting list sounds like a certainty when it
arrives on our shores.
Marque Publishing Company