It’s a small world, after all. At least when it comes to cars. And even in the luxury market motorists have been steadily downsizing, as BMW discovered with the launch of the original 1-Series.
Earlier this spring, a new version of the Bavarian maker’s smallest model was spotted in the midst of testing on the Nürburgring. No new model can ever drive unnoticed on the famous race track, where the spy photographers seem to dig in at every corner, so when a maker puts something out there, it is likely meant to be seen.
Word quickly got out that an all-new version of the BMW 1-Series was set to make its formal debut at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. But with pics already leaking out on the Internet, BMW decided to make something official available.
Fans of the small BMW have had a seven-year wait for the second-generation subcompact. Why it took so long to come up with the 2012 BMW 1-Series the Bavarians aren’t saying, but it’s clear they wanted to address some of the criticism of the original – including weight and room.
The 5-door hatchback will be the first body style to appear, making its world debut at what is likely to be a very crowded Frankfurt Motor Show. The 3-door is expected to follow some months later.
The 2012 BMW 1-Series will be built on a new architecture with a 3.3-inch longer wheelbase, now measuring 105.9 inches, with overall length growing to 70 inches. Consequently, the car will be longer and wider, but the height remains the same as of the first generation. Word is that it will get an extra 7 cubic feet of interior space and a notably larger cabin.
The original took some hits for its somewhat ungainly dimensions. The new model appears to fit more closely in to the BMW family, reflecting the recent design evolution of models like the new 6-Series. The 1-Series get a more dynamic stance because of its wider track, while the aggressive nose, bulgy hood and strong lines at the side give the One a more sporty look overall.
In Europe the first models to arrive on the market, will be the 116i and 118i — with a gasoline-powered 1.6-liter engine making either 134 or 168 hp respectively — and three diesel variants. The outgoing 130i will be replaced by the new 128i, which will offer a 245-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4. Transmission options appear limited to a 6-speed manual and the 8-speed automatic shared with other recent offerings, like the BMW 650i.
As TheDetroitBureau.com recently reported, the 2011 BMW 1 M, which only came to market, will last just one year. (Click Here for that report.) An all-new version of the 1-Series M is in the works, as well, but won’t follow to market immediately.
(For a review of the 2011 BMW 1-Series M, Click Here.)
Details for the North American market have not yet been released and likely won’t be released until sometime around the Frankfurt show.
The European versions are expected to make use of BMW’s latest EfficientDynamics technologies, including engine start/stop and some form of regenerative braking. Whether those systems will be introduced into the U.S. remains to be seen, but in Continental trim, fuel economy numbers nudging into the 50+ mpg range for the diesels have been reported.
There’ll be plenty of new technology, including the optional BMW collision warning system, speed limit detection and even Internet connectivity.
Tags: 2012 bmw 1, BMW reviews, Frankfurt Motor Show, German luxury cars, auto news, bmw 1-series, bmw 128, bmw 1m, bmw news, bmw small car, car news, german small cars, paul a. eisenstein, paul eisenstein, thedetroitbureau