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.
Stunning handling, addictive performance
BMWs inexperience in sector
Hurt sales of German competitors
MkV Golf R32
All the toys in a small package
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