From reader-but-not-commenter Paul Stanley (save the comments, B&B) comes a review of what he feels to be the last enthusiast-focused Bimmer — JB
BMW’s neue klasse marked the beginning of an era of driver-focused cars in the 1960s by introducing a lightweight, moderately powered car that sought balance and usability above all else. Perhaps more importantly, it was affordable and not overly complex. The 2002 was a driver’s car, and so was the 3 Series that followed.
Then, in 2008, BMW introduced the 1 Series to the US market.
Though BMW may announce Thursday where in Mexico it will build its second North American plant, sources close to the matter said the plant will pump 150,000 units annually into auto trains bound for the United States.
If we learn from history, we won’t expect this funky-fresh five-door to ever come to the US. Though we may get a sedan version of this generation of Einser, chances are we will probably still just get the coupe again. And because the new 1er is longer (by 8.5 cm) than its predecessor and heavier (by between 5kg and 35kg) in all but 118d trim (where it remains the same weight), it’s also more practical, with a few more centimeters of rear legroom and 30 liters more storage. Which is all the more reason to bring these workhorse versions to the US (with manual transmission and diesel options, natch) rather than limiting our choices to a now-even-heavier coupe. Especially now that the 1 Series is apparently a four-cylinder-only affair (specs here). If you’re already a devotee of the Einser hatches be sure to surf over to Auto Motor und Sport, where even more photos of the next-gen five-door await your perusal…
Debates over the relative values of front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive have raged for as long as automotive enthusiasm has existed, and after decades of argument, the only thing that anyone seems to agree on is that the the drive wheels matter. But do they? According to Automotive News Europe [sub]’s Luca Ciferri,
More proof that customers don’t care about the difference between rwd and fwd came last week when BMW revealed that 80 percent of its 1-series owners believe the car is fwd
Ciferri wrote this in the “blog” section of the Automotive News [sub] website, and didn’t link to any sources to back his claim up. Meanwhile, a search of German news sources has failed to pull up stories that link to a source other than Ciferri’s blog post. Though Ciferri is a respected auto journalist, and we hesitate to accuse him of making this stuff up, there’s a definite chance that this study isn’t all that it seems. After all, Ciferri cites BMW’s research at a time when the Bavarians are developing the first ever FWD car to carry the famed BMW roundel. Though we don’t doubt that many BMW 1-series buyers might not know which wheels drive their cars, the 80 percent number seems suspiciously high. Furthermore, Ciferri doesn’t indicate whether that statistic reflects global customers, European buyers, or the American market. Combined with BMW’s obvious incentives to de-stigmatize front wheel drive, these problems leave us little choice but to take Ciferri’s statistics with a hefty grain of salt.
Think the new Z4 is a bloated boulevard cruiser unworthy of the roadster-implying Z badge? We’d tend to agree. Which is why we were chuffed to see renderings of a possible BMW 1 Series-based Z2 roadster in the most recent Auto Motor und Sport (print edition). Several Einser engines will be available say AM und S, up to and including the 306 hp 135i engine. BMW M division boss Kay Segler even hints that an M car based on the 1 series is in the works. This roadster seems like as good a variant as any for the treatment.