BMW 1-Series

The BMW 1 Series launched in the fall of 2004 as the brand's entry-level vehicle. The 1 Series was launched globally, with the exception of the North American market. It shares many elements with the BMW 3 Series, but the 1 Series provides a smaller, more accessible compact car than the 3 Series. The first BMW 1 Series model to be launched was a five-door hatchback, with a three-door version following in 2007.

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BMW 1 Series Origins

Summer 2007 saw the introduction of the BMW 1 Series to the North American market. At that time, both the two-door coupe and two-door convertible went on sale in the U.S. and Canada for the 2008 model year with two engine options. The cars are designated as the 128i and 135i, respectively, and both come as a coupe or a convertible. The main difference between the two versions is the engine.

About the BMW 1 Series

When the BMW 1 Series launched in North America, it spiritually succeeded one of BMW's most famous models, the BMW 2002. The BMW 2002 saw production from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s and earned BMW the reputation of producing compact sporting sedans. With this concept in mind, the BMW 1 Series was developed as the latest compact family sports car by BMW. The BMW 128i and 135i cars represent the first generation of the BMW 1 Series for sale in North America. Globally, all 1 Series cars are still in their first generation, although those launched earlier underwent some restyling and modifications in 2007 and 2011.

There are several factors that make the BMW 1 Series unique within its class. These features include rear-wheel drive and a longitudinally mounted engine. (This means that the engine is mounted in line with the vehicle from front to back, instead of across.) This engine position permits larger, more powerful engines to be mounted under the hood. The 1 Series also has 50/50 weight balance. The BMW 135i is the first car to be launched with a differential that has double-helical ball bearings; this allows the car to run at a much lower operating temperature, due to the fact that less fluid is needed within the differential.

BMW 1 Series Evolution

In 2007, the BMW 128i was launched in the North American market. It contains a three-liter, six-cylinder engine that produces 230 horsepower. It comes with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The BMW 135i also comes with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission and a three-liter, six-cylinder twin-turbo engine with a power rating of 302 horsepower. The engine in the BMW 135i was replaced in 2011, but the power output and torque remained the same.

Unlike the 3 Series convertible, the 1 Series convertible has a softtop. Not only is the softtop cheaper to manufacture than the hard tops on other BMW Series' cars, it is significantly lighter and folds down much smaller than the hard top; filling up less space in the trunk when the top is down.

Both the BMW 128i and the BMW 135i include light alloy wheels with run-flat tires, automatic climate control, HD radio, iPod and USB adapter, a stability control system, anti-lock brakes, and power seats with lumbar support. The transmission for the BMW128i is a six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with paddles mounted on the steering wheel. Three modes are available to the driver, allowing varying amount of control over gear shifting during driving. For the 2012 model year, the BMW 135i comes equipped with a seven-speed double clutch transmission that provides faster and smoother gear changes to improve gas mileage and allow faster acceleration.

In 2010, the BMW 1 Series M Coupe was unveiled as a high-performance version of the 1 Series coupe. Of the M models available, the BMW 1 Series M Coupe is both the smallest and the least expensive. Instead of containing an M-designated engine, it has an M-tuned three-liter, six-cylinder that boasts a power output of 335 horsepower. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission only. In addition to modifications under the hood, the body of the M Coupe is slightly larger than the regular coupe. It measures both longer and wider than the standard version. Although it is larger, it actually weighs less than the standard version.

Upon its release, Bentley planned to produce the M version as a limited edition, manufacturing about 2,700 cars. However, due to its popularity, BMW revised the plan and lifted the cap on the number of cars built.

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