BMW fab­ric con­di­tioner

The 1 Se­ries de­sign­ers have taken the soft op­tion, writes JAMES STAN­FORD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test Bmw 125i Convertible -

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.

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