Thursday, January 10, 2013

Used Car Review - BMW 1 Series (2004-2011)

For this day, let's explore German entry level vehicles and Myk Belmonte finds this bargain which could be yours for less.

2004-2011 BMW 1 Series

There are people who wanted to step-up to a luxury brand but not yet ready to drive the second to the entry level model, which leaves them going for the youngest member of the family. They may not draw the buyers but this is their ticket to the ownership experience. There is a reason why the Audi A1 and A3, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes Benz A and B Class, and the Volvo C30 exist.

BMW is no stranger to the entry level luxury category especially that it had the 2002 model in the 1960s and the Compact model of the 90s. Let's discuss more about the Compact especially this one was replaced directly by the 1 Series. It was basically a two door version of the 3 Series and lived on to be available in two generations, a 1993-2000 from the E36 and one from 2000-2004 from the E46. Sales ceased in 2004 which paved way for the BMW 1 Series. The line was so successful it gave birth to a three-door hatchback, a two door coupe, and a sweet looking convertible. Engine choices were also expanded to a larger displacement option, single and twin turbo offerings. Sales ceased in 2011 to make way to the F20 1 Series.

This vehicle was made available in the Philippines in late 2004, and was the cheapest BMW your money could buy. From just a hatchback version wearing a gasoline engine, the 1 line was expanded to diesels and turbos and the body styles of convertible, and the two door coupe. The E87 1 Series was dropped in the line-up in late 2011 since the F20 model was made available.

Value and Costs
If you find the 3 Series too big for your needs and too expensive for your funds, then the 1 Series could be yours for just between P770,000-P1,400,000. But be careful when buying one especially if the unit is abused by the previous owner, the unit is heavily modified, or maintenance records are lacking. If possible, pick up a certified pre-owned unit that has been inspected and a limited warranty comes standard.

Maintaining one would cost you more than a high end Mitsubishi Lancer EX or a Subaru Impreza. BMW parts may cost more but they last longer and you should bring them to the service center or any specialist shops. Be careful with the interior quality especially they have the tendency to deteriorate no thanks to our climate.

Exterior and Interior
The design pushed BMW to its limits by making a way on placing the large engine and a rear wheel drive drivetrain. If the predecessor's design is a bit weird for your tastes, the 1 Series is cleanly styled. Why does it have a longer hood for a small car? Simple, it gives emphasis on its front engine, rear wheel drive combination. The 1 Series may not have the panache of the elders but it does look classy.

Function rules over form inside the car, especially that controls are geared towards the driver. To help the person behind the wheel, the surfaces are covered in dark and textured touches lessen window reflections. While the interior is accommodating, don't expect roominess especially for someone with a more than average built.

Numerous engines made way to the Philippine market and these include the N43B16 1,599cc, N46B20 and N43B20 1,995cc gasoline and a N47D20 1,995cc diesel. While the N43B16 with 115hp at 6,000rpm and 150Nm at 4,300rpm is nothing special to write about (1.6 BMW anyone?), the N46B20 and N43B20 does their job well. Take note that 118i models have 136hp at 5,750rpm and 180Nm at 3,250rpm and the 120i has 150hp at 6,200rpm. For raw power, the diesel engine called as the N47D20 possess 177hp at 4,000rpm and 350Nm at 2,000rpm. The diesel is the one engine to pick especially you would have tons of fun driving one.

Driving Impressions
Having a weight of over 1,300kg, the 1 Series still manages to attack the roads and corners. Steering is well balanced but lighter at lower speeds to aid driving in traffic easy. Ride comfort is good, but rear space can get bad especially that this vehicle carries a larger engine and since the front occupants have the tendency to push their seats backwards.

Before buying this one, ask yourself if you prioritize driving dynamics or passenger carrying. If you drive alone or with someone most of the time and want to push the limits of your steed, go for the BMW 1 Series. But if you're buying one as your family car skip this option as rear space is not generous, better check other luxurious alternatives or upgrade yourself to the BMW 3 Series.

The Good:
  • Available diesel engines
  • Rear wheel drive power
  • A wide choice of engines
The Bad:
  • Terrible ride
  • Styling not for everyone
  • Less space for people, more space for the engine
The Pick: Diesel variants

Engines: 1,599cc N43B16, 1995cc N46B20 and N43B20 I4 gasoline and 1,995 N47D20 I4 diesel
Power: 115hp @ 6,000rpm (N43B16), 136hp @ 5,750rpm (118i), 150hp @ 6,200rpm (120i), 177hp @ 4,000rpm (diesel)
Torque: 150Nm @ 4,300rpm (N43B16), 180Nm @ 3,250 (118i), 350Nm @ 2,000rpm (diesel). No data available for 120i
Fuel Consumption: 7-11km/L (city), 9-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P1,650,000-P2,750,000 (range from 2004-2011)
Price (Now): P770,000-P1,400,000
Rivals: Audi A3, Mercedes Benz B Class, Volvo C30
On Sale: 2004-2011

Prestige Cars BMW - (02) 892-8127
Autohaus BMW - (02) 638-0734
Autozentrum BMW - (02) 772-6021

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