AM Online

First drive: BMW 130i - on sale late September/early October

BMW

Factsheet

No information available.

Review

By its own admission, BMW is heading into uncharted territory with the new 130i. Firmly aimed at the younger buyer, only 200-300 of the latest edition to the 1-series range will initially be produced a year.

Being pitched as the “young, wild car of the family”, the 265bhp 3.0-litre range-topper is big on performance and high on quality. Fast, refined and a joy to drive as it is, the manufacturer is nevertheless entering the sector with a degree of caution.

A spokesman for the company tells AM: “We have no experience of this market, so we have under-called it dramatically. The car might end up selling two or three thousand a year, so we have the engineering flexibility to ramp-up if necessary. It purely depends on demand.”

From January to July this year, 12,026 1-series have been sold, bringing the total to 19,463 since launch in September 2004.

Boasting the company’s powerful six-cylinder engine, an excellent level of features and innovative engineering, it’s the car all 1-series want to be.

Its image will be further enhanced by the introduction of the BMW 130i Cup next year. Held at the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands, the series is sure to add to the car’s credentials.

Available from £24,745 in SE-spec to £26,515 for the M Sport, the only potential fly in the ointment might come in the form of the all-wheel-drive 250bhp MkV Golf R32.

Orders for the 130i are being taken now, with the first deliveries likely in late September/early October.

Strengths
Stunning handling, addictive performance

Weakness
BMWs inexperience in sector

Opportunity
Hurt sales of German competitors

Threat
MkV Golf R32

The USP
All the toys in a small package

Price: £24,745-26,515
Engines: 3.0-litre petrol 265bhp@ 6,600rpm; 232 lb-ft@ 2,750rpm
Performance: 0-62mph: 6.1sec; top speed: 155mph
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Efficiency 30.7mpg (combined); 221g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: SE £10,975 (45%); M Sport £11,350 (43%)
Rivals: Audi A3 3.2 V6, Sport, Alfa 147 GTA, VW Golf R32, Mercedes C350

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