Our love of small, sporty, luxurious German saloons — think BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 — can be traced back to the BMW 2002 coupe of the late 60s. BMW says it's revived the spirit of that car with its 1-Series coupe, on sale here in late May.
Putting the boot to the 1-Series
BMW's Golf/Corolla-sized 1-Series hatch has been on sale in Australia since late 2004. Shave off two doors, stick a boot on and — voila! — a 1-Series coupe. This was primarily done to make the car saleable in the States; you see, they're not so keen on hatches in them there parts.
A 1-Series antecedent, the 2002, seen here in turbo trim. Packing a turboed 2.0-litre four cylinder engine, the 2002 turbo had 127kW of power and 241Nm of torque on tap. That seems piffling now, but the 2002 also weighs a scant 1080kg.
What's in a name?
Come late May, there'll be two 1-Series coupes available to Aussies. Starting at AU$54,400, there's a 125i which has, confusingly, a 160kW/270Nm 3.0-litre straight six engine. Meanwhile the AU$71,400 135i Sport comes with a 225kW/400Nm turbocharged version of that 3.0-litre engine.
Sharply defined creases and all manner of body scalloping are part of BMW's house style. To our eyes — slightly heavy-set taillights apart — the 1-Series coupe looks more pleasing than the awkward hatch.
iDrive, you drive, we all drive
Specify satellite navigation and you'll get a pop-up screen plus BMW's much maligned iDrive control knob (it's behind the gear lever on this Euro-spec model). A USB port for MP3 players and Bluetooth hands-free come standard in Oz.