A whisper in your ear
There’s a particularly notorious car doing the press rounds lately…well, was doing the rounds. If you’re feeling generous about my job title, you could say I was the last automotive journalist to have a go at the Dinan S3-R BMW 1M before the keys were handed to its permanent owner.
Reader Antoun sends us this review of a BMW 120d rental car from his most recent trip to Europe.
The BMW 120d is right at the bullseye of unrequited desire for – well, you, assuming you’re a compulsive reader of car blogs, where the irrationality of the wagon-on-stilts crossover craze and needlessly-complicated hybrid technology are well-worn topics. On paper, the 120d is the best of both worlds. To the performance junkie, it could be a sports car: rear-wheel drive, a touch over 3100 lbs of curb weight, and a turbo motor that kicks out 184 horsepower (measured in the Euro way, optimistic by US standards) and – get this – 280 ft/lbs of torque. Best of all, it can still be ordered with a 6-speed manual transmission and a real clutch pedal.
“Take BMW. In the near term, they will have nine entries in the compact segment. This is basically our heartland,” he told me on the sidelines of the Paris auto show. “With the brand reputation they have, you start to have a massive problem.”
-Gunnar Herrmann, Ford of Europe’s Vice President of Quality
Here it is, the car that will be regarded by gearheads as the anti-Christ when it makes its debut later this month at the Paris Auto Show; the BMW Concept Active Tourer, a hybrid crossover which previews BMW’s front-drive 1-Series.
Even though the BMW 1 Series M Coupe is gone forever, performance-minded 1-Series customers must have a high-end performance model, even if a lot of them don’t even know if the car is front-drive or rear-drive.