BMWs 1 and 2 Series models have received major upgrade in their engine and technology departments, with a further emphasis on improving fuel efficiency in their already impressive drivetrains.
By way of explanation, the BMW 1s are the everyday small five-door hatchbacks – if you can ever describe any BMW as being everyday – whereas the 2s are the specialty variants based on the 1 Series. Special in that the ‘2s come with coupe and convertible bodies. Both are offered with high-performance versions that further improve driver involvement.
Given that Australian BMW buyers are increasingly opting for the quickest models in the various ranges we will start with them. They are now powered by the heavily revised turbo-petrol 3.0-litre straight-six engine that produces peak power of 250 kW, and an amazing 500 Nm of torque, the latter coming in at just 1520 rpm and not tapering off till 4500 is showing on the tacho.
Consequently, BMW now calls these upgraded 1 Series and 2 Series models the M140i and M240i respectively, they replace the already much loved BMW M135i and M235i.
Each dhey drives the rear wheels through an eight-speed Sport automatic, and with launch control engaged the BMW M140i gets from rest to 100km/h in just 4.6 seconds. That’s a significant 0.3 seconds quicker than the M135i, which wasn’t exactly a slug.
BMW doesn’t quote acceleration figures for the six-speed manual transmission, a no-cost option, but in a sign of the times it is slower than the automatic.
There’s something addictive about manual gearboxes, though, and we found ourselves with even bigger grins on our faces whilst driving the manual than the autos
Our testing was done not only on the brilliants roads outside Albury in southern NSW, but also at the Winton racetrack in Victoria. The high-performance BMWs have the handling dynamics we have loved for decades and continue to impress not only in handling, but also in the way comfort isn’t overly compromised.
To let others know these Bimmers are something special the M140i has the M Aerodynamics package, 18-inch M alloy wheels with low profile tyres, and twin black chrome tailpipes.
The BMW 2 Series high-performance coupe and convertibles are tagged M240i .
Luxury features for M Performance models now include keyless entry and push button start/stop, a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon loudspeaker system, DAB+ radio, and heated leather-trimmed Sport front seats. Then there is an improved version of the Professional navigation system.
While the improvements to the topline models are the most exciting, the smaller 1 Series and 2 Series have also been substantially revised.
The four-cylinder 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo engine in the BMW 120i has an increase in power and torque, to 135 kW and 270 Nm between 1350 and 4600 revs.
The BMW 125i has 165 kW between 5200 rpm and 6500 rpm with torque of 310 Nm that runs over a huge range, from 1400 to 5000 rpm. It has a zero to 100 km/h time of 6.1 seconds and is likely to be the biggest seller in the range, providing excellent value from money.
The new BMW 230i coupe and convertible replace the 228i models and have a new generation 2.0-litre four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo petrol 185 kW of power. Torque is 350Nm between 1450rpm and 4800rpm. This enables 0-100 km/h times of 5.6 seconds for the coupe and 5.9 seconds for the convertible, the latter being heavier.
The new engine uses the latest in BMW EfficientDynamics technologies to improve efficiency. Combined fuel consumption for the BMW 230i Coupe is cut to 5.9 L/100km with CO2 emissions of 134g/km and the Convertible consumes 6.2 L/100km and returns 142g/km of CO2 on the combined test cycle.
BMW ConnectedDrive Lifestyle is standard across the range. It accesses internet and BMW Concierge Services; there’s real time traffic information; and an excellent emergency call function. BMW Remote app functions, such as remote locking/unlocking, headlight flash and Google local search and send-to-car functions, are also included.
The two entry level 1 Series models that are carried over unchanged continue with the same pricing with the 1.5-litre TwinPower Turbo eight-speed automatic 118i priced from $36,900 and the 2.0-litre turbodiesel 118d starting at $40,300.
Therefore the updated BMW 1 Series is priced from just $36,900 for 118i, peaking at $64,900 for new M140i. A nice spread, with something for everyone who wants to live with the prestige of BMW badges. BMWs M240i coupe and convertible priced from $74,900 and $83,900 respectively, a decrease of $2600 over outgoing models.
Note that the above prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local BMW dealer for drive-away prices.