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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > Regional Forums > Australia > My day with the 1-series



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      03-30-2007, 06:49 AM   #1
9c1
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My day with the 1-series

Had the E90 booked in for an early oil service today, so I took the opportunity to drive an automatic TiAg 120i service loan car for the day as I had never driven a 1-series.

Initial Impressions.

Can't really say that I'm a huge fan of the 1-series styling, especially from front on. This car reminds me too much of the E36 era M-coupe "Bread Van". Whilst the Chris Bangle styling effort on the 3-series is one of his more "conservative" designs (which is more me), I think the 1-series is somewhat more "funky" and "radical" and is probably aimed at a younger buyer than the usual 3-series owner. When you look at one up close you do notice alot more curves on the body than a 3-series and they seem out of proportion from some angles (especially at the front). The car did look good in Titanium Silver though with the colour coded door handles and bumpers.

Interior.

Everything inside is very familiar to a 3-series driver and I did get comfortable and was able to adjust the mirrors, steering wheel and seat very quickly.

One thing I did notice is that you do lose the traditional BMW fuel consumption gauge underneath the speedometer. I found out later that this is replaced by an additional display function found in the on-board computer (why they bothered to do this I don't know). The other thing a 3-series driver will notice is that the centre armrest is lower than usual and you do get a proper driver's door handle in a 1-series (which is a good thing).

In my opinion, the quality of the interior trim used in the 1-series is not as good as found in the 3-series. The feel of the plastic used in the door trims and dashboard is particularly "cheap" when compared with an E90.

The larger rear pillars do make reversing a little more difficult than in a 3 but it's no problem. The interior feels like it's a "shrunken" version of a 3-series which I found makes it feel "cosy" but not small (like my original E30). The rear leg room will cause problems for taller passengers when compared with a 3-series but that's to be expected I guess. One thing I didn't like in the back of the 1-series is the lack of a rear centre armrest and rear vents.

The rear boot space is smaller than what you get in an E90 but I think it's a little more practical as you have greater opening space because it's a hatchback.

Driving Impressions.

I guess with a slightly lighter kerb weight when compared to my car I shouldn't have been surprised that the 120i felt a bit quicker to drive. (Mind you after the oil service my 3-series did feel quicker again than the 120i which goes to show the benefits of changing your oil a little bit more regularly).

This particular 1-series I drove wasn't fitted with the m sport package like my own car but it did have 17" Pirelli RFT's and the BMW sport seats and it rode particularly well in my opinion. The handling of the 120i felt more responsive than my 3 (probably because of the lighter weight) and it felt more like a little go kart which made it very fun to drive. In fact, I was very surprised how "polished" it felt to drive when you consider that the 1-series is the bottom of the BMW range and is designed to compete with more pedestrian cars like VW Golfs and Opels etc in Europe.

Conclusion.

I was impressed with the 120i and it's practicality but felt it could use a little more power. To my surprise I found I could forgive the "cheapness" of the interior because of the way it drove and I think it's a true BMW in every sense. It wasn't the disappointment or compromise I thought it would be.

In fact, when I returned the 120i to the dealership I had a quick drive around the block of their 130i m sport demonstrator. Now if you want a small, fun and powerful BMW in the mould of the original E30 323i/M325i then this is the right car for you.

and now I'm seriously thinking of a manual 130i m sport to join the E90 in the garage......
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      03-30-2007, 07:32 AM   #2
hav2flynow
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Thanks for the well done review. Would like to have seen interior pics as well.
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      03-30-2007, 08:34 AM   #3
adriant
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Having driven the 130i manual, I can say it's a great drivers car. Responsive engine and great chassis. Handled brilliantly and was just alot of fun to drive.
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      03-30-2007, 11:00 AM   #4
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I agree...I love my 130i. I also agree with the review in that it does feel a little cheaper inside. Comes quite well loaded though, and is the cheapest entry into a European 'six' in Aus.
 
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      03-31-2007, 03:09 AM   #5
astra
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nice write up
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      04-01-2007, 03:11 AM   #6
Chris.G
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Nice write up. My mate has the 120, he regrets not buying the 130.
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      04-01-2007, 05:09 AM   #7
rodders
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Hi guys, just joined the forum after getting a lot of valuable info from here on new car I purchased a few weeks ago.

Had the a 2005 120i for two years.

Now have 320i sports. The two cars are miles apart if you ask me. The 120i was a manual so did feel more involved in the driving experience and certainly it handled very well. Still remember the smile first corner I put it into!

I didnt think the finish in the 120i was that bad, still no where as good as the 320i.

For some stupid reason though I feel like the 320i has more grunt... I know it is still the same engine though. Also, 320i does not feel as sure into corners but Im still running in and getting used to as only had a couple of weeks.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on the two....
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      04-01-2007, 05:29 AM   #8
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welcome to the forum rodders
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      04-01-2007, 09:42 AM   #9
moO moO nEL
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if they are going to bring the 135i coupe to Australia I will get one immediately
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      04-01-2007, 06:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moO moO nEL View Post
if they are going to bring the 135i coupe to Australia I will get one immediately
whoa, that would be insane!!
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      04-01-2007, 10:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodders View Post
Hi guys, just joined the forum after getting a lot of valuable info from here on new car I purchased a few weeks ago.

Had the a 2005 120i for two years.

Now have 320i sports. The two cars are miles apart if you ask me. The 120i was a manual so did feel more involved in the driving experience and certainly it handled very well. Still remember the smile first corner I put it into!

I didnt think the finish in the 120i was that bad, still no where as good as the 320i.

For some stupid reason though I feel like the 320i has more grunt... I know it is still the same engine though. Also, 320i does not feel as sure into corners but Im still running in and getting used to as only had a couple of weeks.

Anyway, that's my thoughts on the two....
I agree with you on the build quality - the 1 series doesn't feel as solid - example is in the doors - the E90 doors feel heavy and sturdy whereas the 1's feel a bit cheaper. It is certainly a more involving drive though - just needs some beefier tyres though :-)

Personally, I've found the 320 to be severely lacking in power, especially on hotter days. It's not meant to be a performance car but with 110Kw I did expect more. It's a shame the 323 wasn't out in mid 2005 as I would have bought one of those in a second, over the 320. For the auto version, I'd really like another 15-20Kw for it to be adequate as there is next to no bottom end torque and keeping up with faster traffic becomes a chore requiring the step to keep going up and down gears (especially on undulating Sydney roads).
 
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