We at MotoringFile have been waiting for this day for several years now. Since the BMW 1 Series five-door hatch was released a couple years ago, we’ve asked our readers several times how a small BMW coupe would impact your MINI ownership. Well today is the day that the official announcement was made by BMW North America. The new 1 Series coupe will not only be available in the UK and Europe but (unlike the three and five door hatch) will be available in North America as well. Starting in 2008, the North American market will get a de-tuned version of the 3.0L engine producing 230hp and the much talked about 3.0L twin-turbo with 300hp. While we fully expect the low-end coupe (the 128i) to start near $30k and a fully specced out 135i to go beyond $40k, we can’t help but wonder how this will impact some MINI sales.
As someone who has had an affinity for small BMW coupes since the 2002, I’ve personally been waiting for a car like this since I was old enough to drive – and perhaps even before. 50/50 weight distribution, fairly lightweight with rear-wheel drive and that famous BMW handling and performance, this car has all it takes to be an exceptional driver. In fact many are looking at it as the first true successor to such famous cars as the 2002 and E30 3 Series.
So let’s hear your thoughts. Does the 230hp 128i or even the 300hp 135i make you re-think your MINI ownership? Or is your affinity for the MINI too strong for this Bavarian teutonic goodness.
You can read the full BMW North American press release below:
BMW will introduce a modern and authentic performance coupe that draws inspiration from its iconic 2002 models of some 40 years ago. The next BMW legend, the 1 Series Coupe, represents the core BMW philosophies of pure performance and premium design. By combining sporty rear-wheel-drive dynamics, agile handling, powerful engines and seating for four, the 1 Series Coupe will reinvent the niche that the legendary BMW 2002 created.
On sale in the spring of 2008, the 1 Series Coupe will be available in two versions; the 128i and the 135i. Powered by a 3.0-liter, 230 horsepower inline 6-cyinder engine that generates 200 lb-ft of torque, the 128i Coupe will feature Valvetronic valvetrain management and aluminum/magnesium contruction-core elements of BMW’s EfficientDynamics. The powerful 135i Coupe features BMW’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and an incredible 300 lb-ft of torque from as low as 1,400 rpm. With its direct piezo gasoline injectors, twin low-mass turbochargers and air-to-air intercooling, optimum performance and economy is achieved with no loss in engine response. For the 135i Coupe, acceleration from 0-62 mph is accomplished in 5.3 seconds and top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. Both engines feature on-demand engine coolant pumps that improve fuel economy and reduce parasitic losses for increased output.
Handsome looks with sporting intentions: The new 1 Series Coupe combines unique, dynamic and unmistakable design elements with a powerful and muscular body. The greenhouse with its characteristic “Hofmeister kink” is moved rearward and offers a particularly nimble look with its long hood. The short overhangs, long wheelbase and large frameless doors sit on a body with a striking shoulder line for a modern interpretation of BMW’s characteristic look. On the 135i Coupe, an M Aerodynamic Kit is standard.
The 1 Series boasts aggressive rear end styling. The trunklid has an integrated spoiler chiselled into the rear end of the car to accentuate the short rear section. On the 135i, an additional lip spoiler provides greater downforce on the rear end at high speeds.
The individual sections within the L-shaped rear taillights give the vehicle a lower, sportier look. Horizontal lights integrated in the rear light clusters offer a homogeneous lighting effect with the help of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This light design, as found on other BMW models, makes the BMW 1 Series Coupe stand out at night. Also, the Adaptive Brakelights operating in two stages in relation to brake application force are yet another feature typical of BMW, with the additional benefit of extra safety on the road.
The standard Adaptive Xenon headlights (optional on the 128i) complete with integrated Cornering Lights make driving in the dark safer than ever. The daytime headlight function in typical BMW style with two corona rings on each headlight unit enhances the perception of the car under normal and “murky” light conditions.
Luxurious interior appointments with today’s technology: The innovative interior design incorporates high-quality and sophisticated trim elements with luxurious upholstery and color choices. A 60/40 split rear seat is standard. The control console for the entertainment and air conditioning functions is integrated smoothly and harmoniously into the dashboard through its soft radii and flowing surfaces. The controller featured in the iDrive system with the optional Navigation system is integrated in the center console, again following BMW’s characteristic philosophy. Galvanized pearl gloss surfaces adorn the interior door handles, the glove compartment handle, the radio’s rotary knobs, the knobs of the automatic air conditioning system, the iDrive Controller, and the ornamental trim strips featured on the sports steering wheel.
The BMW 1 Series Coupe is available with a choice of two upholstery options-sporty and comfortable Leatherette or rich Boston Leather. Boston Leather upholstery adds further style to the high-quality impression of the interior. And as a practical feature, map pockets are integrated in the lower part of the doors. The optional Sport Package includes sports buckets seats with enhanced side support and are finished in highly distinctive leatherette materials or Boston leather.
Enhanced iDrive and integration of an external MP3 player: BMW’s iDrive is included with the optional navigation system. It enables the driver to control all secondary and comfort functions such as communication, air conditioning, entertainment and navigation functions easily and conveniently.
This latest version of iDrive is equipped with six Programmable Memory Keys that allow the driver to program functions that are used particularly often such as navigation destinations, radio stations or specific telephone numbers. Touch-sensative sensors on these buttons preview the function on the iDrive screen before the button is depressed. This allows the driver to choose the stored function safely and conveniently, keeping his or her eyes on the road in the process.
A wide choice of audio and communication are also available, never before seen in the compact performance market. These features include SIRIUS satellite radio, HD radio, Premium Sound system and Bluetooth interface. For simple and straightforward connection of an MP3 player, an Auxiliary input jack is standard, and a USB port for direct control of an Apple iPod or iPhone media player is available as an option.
High-tech suspension with newly-developed differential: In typical BMW style, the new BMW 1 Series Coupe transmits the power of the engine to the rear wheels. This design concept and configuration Ã¢â‚¬â€œ engine at the front, drive wheels at the rear Ã¢â‚¬â€œ guarantees optimum traction, good weight distribution front-to-rear, excellent directional stability, and predictable handling.
The new 1 Series Coupe has a sophisticated suspension system with an aluminium double-pivot front suspension and a five-link fully independent rear suspension in lightweight steel. BMW’s Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) also includes a Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) function that provides electronic intervention to prevent loss of vehicle control, but at a higher threshold before activation. This allows the driver to experience more spirited driving on dry roads and offers more flexibility when driving in more challenging conditions such as in the snow. If the driver desires, both DSC and DTC can be disabled entirely. Active Steering, a variable ratio steering system exclusive to BMW, is available as an option. The DSC system on the 135i Coupe is designed specifically for performance-oriented driving. For instance, the accelerator pedal has a quicker response rate and electronic rear brake management is used to simulate a differential lock for stronger acceleration in turns.
The rear differential on the 1 Series comes from a new generation of final drives optimized for running smoothness. Featuring double-helical ball bearings for the first time, the differential runs at an even lower operating temperature reached more quickly than before thanks to the reduction of fluid required in the differential.
The front suspension on the BMW 1 Series is also built to a standard quite unique to its competitive group. The double-pivot spring and strut front suspension with its anti-roll bar, is made largely of aluminium and offers an optimum combination of stiffness and low weight. The very stable track control arms and thrust rods, as well as exact wheel guidance, make an important contribution to the car’s driving dynamics.
High safety standards exceed international requirements: No less than six airbags come standard within the new BMW 1 Series Coupe for optimum protection of the car’s occupants. The advanced frontal airbags are activated in stages in relation to impact severity while the side airbags integrated into the sides of the front seat backrests reduce the risk of injury at chest and hip levels in side impact situations. HPS (Head Protection System) side curtain airbags fitted in the roof lining protect both the occupants on the front seats and the passengers at the rear. The new BMW 1 Series Coupe also comes with crash-optimized seats with specially padded headrests and backrests significantly reducing the risk of injury in an impact from the rear.
All seats within the 1 Series Coupe are fitted with three-point inertia-reel seat belts and headrests, with the front seat belts fastened on the frames of the driver’s and front passenger’s seats, keeping the belt in an optimum position around the occupant’s hips regardless of seat height or for-aft seat adjustment.
Also, the driver’s pedals move back automatically with a predetermined amount of deformation in the event of a frontal collision so that the risk of driver foot injury is reduced. And last but not least, the rear seats come standard with LATCH attachments for child seats.
M-inspired performance for the 135i Coupe
The 135i Coupe offers more performance and a striking look thanks to M-inspired components. Features include an Aero kit for additional downforce at speed, better brake cooling and enhanced aesthetics while the Sports Suspension offers higher traction and reduced body roll with 18-inch wheels and performance tires. The Sports Suspension also includes with a high-performance brake system incorporating six-piston fixed calipers on the front and two-piston fixed calipers at the rear.
BMW Ultimate ServiceTM:
Providing owners with incredible value and peace of mind
The BMW 1 Series Coupe will feature BMW Ultimate ServiceTM, a suite of services that includes the BMW Maintenance Program (formerly called Full Maintenance), Roadside Assistance and the New Vehicle Limited Warranty. BMW AssistTM with TeleService is part of the optional Premium Package or can be ordered separately as a stand-along option.
BMW Ultimate ServiceTM includes: The BMW Maintenance Program is the only no-cost maintenance program in the industry that covers wear and tear items like brake pads and rotors for 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. BMW owners pay nothing for all scheduled inspections, oil changes, brake pads, wiper blade inserts and other wear-and-tear items.
BMW Roadside Assistance is one of the industry’s most comprehensive plans available. Not only is it no-charge for the first 4 years, but there is no mileage limit. BMW drivers enjoy the assurance of on-the-road help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. This includes everything from flat tire changes, emergency gasoline and lock-out assistance, to towing, alternative transportation and even trip-interruption benefits. This service also includes valuable trip routing advice.
BMW New Vehicle Limited Warranty: All 2008 BMW passenger vehicles are covered by BMW’s excellent Limited Warranty, which includes:
* New-vehicle warranty Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 4-year/50,000-mile coverage of the vehicle.
* Rust-perforation warranty Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 12-year/unlimited-mileage coverage.
BMW AssistTM provides the driver with services that enhance on-the-road security and convenience, for added peace of mind. It is a part of the optional Premium package and can also be ordered separately as a stand-alone option. BMW is the only vehicle manufacturer that offers this service for 4 years at no additional cost. Most other manufacturers cover only the first year of service.
The in-vehicle equipment for BMW AssistTM includes GPS technology and hands-free communication functions accessed via buttons in the overhead or center console. Vehicle occupants may request emergency or other services simply by pressing a button; the BMW AssistTM system then transmits the location and vehicle information to the BMW AssistTM Response Center. A response specialist will then speak with the occupants to coordinate dispatch, notify emergency contacts on file, and link BMW Roadside Assistance or emergency services as needed and requested. A severe accident automatically activates the BMW AssistTM call as well. The BMW AssistTM Safety Plan also includes Remote Door Unlock and Stolen Vehicle Recovery services, which can save the owner time and money.
TeleService automatically notifies the BMW center when a vehicle will need service. This feature allows the Service Advisor to proactively set up a customer appointment and have the needed parts ready.
BMW AssistTM subscribers can also enroll in the BMW AssistTM Convenience Plan (available at an additional cost of $199 per year) to avail themselves to many BMW AssistTM Concierge services, from travel planning to dining reservations, shopping assistance and event tickets, as well as receive directions, and traffic and weather information. A selected destination and its phone number can be sent directly to the on-board navigation system and BluetoothÃ‚Â®Ã¢â‚¬â€œlinked mobile phone, after a push of the new Concierge button. The Convenience Plan also includes Critical Calling, a new service that connects the driver in case their mobile phone is not in the vehicle or its battery is discharged. After pushing the SOS button, a BMW AssistTM response specialist will link the driver to his requested party for up to five minutes and for up to four events per year.
As before, the BMW AssistTM system includes BluetoothÃ‚Â® hands-free phone connectivity with hands-free phonebook access and dialing by name or number via the steering wheel controls. Use of this feature requires a customer-provided compatible BluetoothÃ‚Â® mobile phone.
Performance with a conscience: BMW strives to produce its motor vehicles and other products with the utmost attention to environmental compatibility and protection. Integrated into the design and development of BMW automobiles are such criteria as resource efficiency and emission control in production; environmentally responsible selection of materials; recyclability during production and within the vehicle; elimination of CFCs and hazardous materials in production; and continuing research into environmentally friendly automotive power sources. Tangible results of these efforts include the recycling of bumper cladding into other vehicle components; water-based paint color coats and powder clear coats; near-future availability of hydrogen-powered models; and various design and engineering elements that help make BMWs easier to dismantle at the end of their service life.