BMW fabric conditioner
The 1 Series designers have taken the soft option, writes JAMES STANFORD
CONVERTIBLES with fabric lids are becoming rare. Folding metal hard-tops might be heavier and need more space to store, but they look smarter and better insulate against wind and extreme temperatures.
BMW has chosen metal for its new M3. So why did it decide its 1 Series convertible should wear a fabric lid when most of its rivals have moved on?
Cost is one factor. Weight and back seat space and bootspace were also considered, but one of the main issues was the designer’s demand that the bootline not be raised past a certain point.
Many convertibles with folding hard-tops have big boots in order to store the folded roof, and these sometimes spoil their lines.
The new 1 Series convertible is the latest iteration of the cheapest BMW, which has already been presented in the form of a five-door hatch and three-door coupe.
Its biggest rivals are the metal-top Volkswagen Eos and the just- released Audi A3 cabriolet, which also has a soft-top.
You can choose from three engines when you order a 1 Series drop-top — all of them petrol.
A 2.0-litre four-cylinder powers the 120i, producing 115kW and 200Nm. The 125i and 135i are 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinders, but the latter has two turbochargers for 225kW and 400Nm.
The naturally aspirated six generates 160kW and 270Nm.
All three engines come standard with a six-speed manual. A six-speed automatic costs an extra $2600 for the 120i and $2800 for the 125i and 135i, which both feature steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Prices start at $52,900 for the 120i and rise to $63,400 for the 125i and $78,400 for the 135i.
Standard safety gear on all models includes front and side head/thorax airbags for driver and passenger, anti-skid brakes and electronic stability control.
The 120i comes standard with climate- control airconditioning, cruise control, leather seats, singledisc CD sound with USB input, automatic headlights and wipers, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth phone connectivity and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Stepping up to the 125i adds the option of high-gloss or woodgrain interior trim, heated front seats, chrome exterior details and different 17-inch wheels. The 135i also gets self-washing bi-Xenon lights, electric seat adjustment including driver lumbar support, M Sport suspension and 18-inch wheels.