BMW 120d

BMW 1 Series

The BMW 1 Series (code name E87) is a small-luxury car / small family car produced by the German automaker BMW since 2004. The 1 Series is the only vehicle in its class featuring rear-wheel drive and a longitudinally-mounted engine.


The 1 Series was first offered to the market in 2004 as a five-door hatchback and is the only rear-wheel drive in its class. It replaced the BMW 3 Series Compact range and is currently the smallest and most affordable vehicle (depending on the engine model) in the BMW range. Unlike its predecessor, the new vehicle is built on its own platform (E87); however, it shares many components with the E90 3 Series. Shared parts include MacPherson struts in the front of the car and a trapezoidal-link rear axle. BMW has stated that it shares over 60% of components with the current E90 BMW 3 Series.

The 1 Series is built in Regensburg and Leipzig, Germany, with the 4 cylinder petrol/gas engines coming from the Hams Hall plant in Coleshill north east of Birmingham, England.

During its first full year on the market in 2005, it became one of BMW's most successful products. 149,493 units were sold, leading to a third-place finish in total numbers sold by model. Only the 3 and 5 Series sold better. In 2008, the 1 Series was credited with helping BMW overtake Lexus as the top luxury brand.

For the 2008 MY, the Coupé (code named E82) and Coupé convertible (code named E88) variant have been introduced by BMW. U.S. introduction is scheduled for second quarter of 2008.

2007 update

BMW upgraded the 1 Series for 2007 and introduced a 3-door sports hatch variant (code named E81). Changes to the model were minor headlight and taillight revisions, new front/rear bumpers and minor revisions to the interior. The dashboard has been updated, and a recommended gear indicator is now present on models with manual transmissions.

New technologies include auto start/stop, Brake Energy Regeneration, Electric Power Steering, an electric water pump, and a host of drivetrain modifications designed for fuel economy, increased performance, and lower emissions. BMW marketing has named this combination of technologies EfficientDynamics, which will also be implemented in other BMW models.

The 1 Series is effectively the first in the world to have mild hybrid technology as standard equipment, although BMW is careful in its marketing not to label it as a hybrid vehicle, as this brings market expectation of electrically assisted drive.


The engines available for E81 and E87 are basically the same as found in the E90/E91, with exception for the 3.0 L inline-6, which is slightly modified to produce more power. For the 2008 model year, the 135i is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces and of torque from 1,400 rpm. For the 135i Coupé, acceleration from 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) is 5.4 seconds (via BMW website), and top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (250 km/h). Fuel efficiency is increased to , an improvement of 18% compared to its predecessor.

The engines below are preceded by their model year introduction.

In early 2006 the 5-speed manual transmission in the 116i and 118i was phased out in favor of the 6-speed all 2006 and newer models with the manual transmission carry.

Model Year Engine Capacity Type Valves Power Torque Acceleration
0-100 km/h
Top speed
Petrol (gasoline) engines
116i 2004–2007 N45B16 1596 cc I4 16 10.9 s (MT) (MT)
2007− N45B16 1596 cc 10.1 s (MT)
11.1 s (AT)
118i 2005–2007 N46B20 1995 cc 9.4 s (MT)
10.1 s (AT)
2007– N46B20 1995 cc 8.7 s (MT)
9.3 s (AT)
120i 2004–2007 N46B20 1995 cc 7.9 s (MT)
9.3 s (AT)
2007– N46B20 1995 cc 7.7 s (MT)
8.3 s (AT)
128i 2008– N52B30 2996 cc I6 24 6.4 s (MT)
6.7 s (AT)
130i 2006– N52B30 2996 cc 6.0 s (MT)
6.3 s (AT)
135i 2008– N54B30 2979 cc 5.4 s (MT)
5.5 s (AT)
Diesel engines
118d 2004–2007 M47TU2D20 1995 cc I4 16 10.0 s (MT) (MT)
2007– BMW M47 8.9 s (MT)
9.0 s (AT)
120d 2004–2007 M47TU2D20 7.9 s (MT)
8.2 s (AT)
2007– BMW M47 7.5 s (MT)
7.7 s (AT)
123d 2007– BMW M47 7.0 s (MT) (MT)


Sales statistics according to BMW's annual reports.

  • 2004: 39,247 (Launched in September)
  • 2005: 149,493
  • 2006: 151,918
  • 2007: 165,803

Other versions

M version

CAR Magazine has asserted that there will be an M version of the 1 series, although BMW denies that the M1 nameplate will be resurrected in respect for the M1 supercar of the late 1970s. Instead, at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show in October 2007, BMW showed a concept version with the series designation "tii", a tribute to the famed vehicle of the 1970s.. Elements of this concept have appeared in an accessory line from BMW that has been premiered at the Geneva Motor Show (March 2008). This "tii" model is seen in the recently released Gran Turismo 5 Prologue as well as the standard 1 series.


BMW launched the latest addition to the 1 Series line-up, the 1 Series Coupé (E82), at the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung (IAA) 2007. The car went on sale on 24 November 2007. The flagship of the range will be the 135i with a 3-litre twin-turbo petrol engine, generating 225 kW/306 hp (DIN) with its six cylinders. This model also comes with a modified M sports package as standard. The 135i comes with the world's first differential with double-helical ball bearings which have the advantage of running at an even lower operating temperature reached more quickly than before thanks to the reduction of fluid required in the differential. The 123d (150 kW/204 hp(DIN)) heads up the range of diesels and is the first ever 4-cylinder diesel engine to come with variable twin-turbo technology. In terms of fuel consumption, the 123d and 120d rate between and .

On June 27, 2007, BMW released official information about the new upcoming 1-series Coupé. In Europe, the Coupé would be available fall 2007 in 3 engine specifications: the known 120d and the new 204 hp 123d and 306 hp 135i, both twin-turbo engines.

On 30 June 2007, BMW of North America officially announced the 1-Series Coupé as a 2008 model (code named E82) and that will be the first 1 Series to go on sale in the USA. Two models are initially to be offered: the 128i and the 135i. The 128i will be powered by a 3.0 liter, inline six cylinder engine. The 135i Coupé will be propelled by a , twin turbocharged 3.0 liter inline six cylinder engine. Both engines are shared with 3-series models 328i and 335i.

Like the three- and five-door BMW 1 Series models, the E82 also features various BMW EfficientDynamics components to reduce fuel consumption (see below). The Coupé is longer than the hatch, creating 20 litres of extra boot space. It is shorter than 3-series Coupé (E92). 120d, 123d and 135i Coupés' announced unladen weights (EU) are 1450, 1495, and , respectively (corresponding to approx. curb weight for the 135i - a reduction from the 335i Coupé).

The 1 Series Coupé is marketed in the US as a spiritual successor to the legendary BMW New Class with its long bonnet, slim cabin and short rear. Apart from slight modifications, it uses the same nose design as the rest of the 1 Series so as to ensure some visual consistency within the range.

In July 2007, BMW announced they would be exporting the 128i and 135i Coupés to the United States in Spring 2008. The 135i is priced about $6,000 less than the 335i Coupé .

It has been said that the BMW 1 envokes memories of the E36 BMW, as stated in both Road and Track and Car and Driver Magazines.


The 1 Series convertible (E88) officially debuted on September 29, 2007. The new 1-Series Cabriolet offers four petrol models ranging from the 118i's 143 hp 2.0-litre unit to the 306 hp 3.0-litre six-cylinder 135i, while a four-cylinder turbodiesel will also be available.

The convertible will be available with a fabric top, to differentiate it further from the now steel-roofed 3-series convertible E93. It is now in size and spirit very close to the original 3-series convertible.


The vehicle is currently promoted by Kermit from the Muppet Show. There is a commercial in which Kermit drives a BMW 1 Series around in a desert making figure eights, showcasing the car's agile nature and playful handling.

BMW is showing a 3-episode web movie promo (filmed in Hamburg with a New York cast) that looks almost like a film noir and feels more like a mini–TV movie or film, with the main focus on the actors and more subtle appearances of the car itself. These episodes were made for viewing in Japanese movie theaters, but can be viewed via the internet.

BMW is also advertising the car using comparisons to its classic 2002, an iconic two-door from the 1970s known for its light weight and high level of performance (relative to the era).

BMW recently released a viral market stunt to promote the BMW 1 Series. The campaign centered on an online video 'mockumentary' called Rampenfest that chronicles the adventures of a small Bavarian town attempting to use a giant ramp to literally launch the new BMW from Germany to the U.S.


In 1998, a BMW E36 320d had won the 24 Hours Nürburgring, being able to drive very long stint. In 2006, a BMW 120d modified with a BMW customer racing kit available for 95,000 Euros, entered by "Schubert Motors" repeated a similar if not better result. It scored 5th in a field of 220 cars, many of them (Porsche 911 GT3, BMW M3, Lamborghini Gallardo, Aston Martin, Maserati) much more powerful than the of the 120d, thus a significantly stronger field of competitors than in 1998. The racing version of 120d is called BMW 120d Motorsport and it weighs only with a driver. It includes a diesel tank for endurance racing and has a maximum torque of at 3000 rpm - the maximum power, is at 4200 rpm and the redline is only at 5000 rpm.


The 1-Series has been a vehicle that has not been without criticism. The most publically vocal critic is Jeremy Clarkson, who in both print and on television has found the 1-series to be severely flawed as a production vehicle. His criticisms are justified as follows:

  • The standard 1-series sedan does not have enough room to permit an adult of normal stature to occupy the rear seat while another adult e.g. the driver is occupying the front seat - there is no rear legroom, making the rear seats a useless addition at best.
  • The boot-space of the 1-series is of equally little utility to the motorist - as there is very little volume indeed, and the car is thus not suited to even simple grocery shopping. On top of this, the rear seats do not fold down.

Clarkson, and other journalists have a number of other complaints about the 1-seres which are aesthetic, and have influenced sales demographics. The 1-series is described as having 'Bread-van' looks, and also that it is a 'Shameless attempt by BMW to sell a badge rather than a car'. Clarkson in particular describes the average BMW 1-series owner as receiving the following assessment from his next door neighbours (on BBC's Top Gear) as 'hmmm, he's bought an expensive car - he must be absolutely bonkers!' Clarkson went so far as to end his review (after much deliberation) for the Sunday Times with 'The 1-Series is Crap.'

However, censure has not been universal - the 1-series coupe and convertible have been described as 'returning BMW to its roots', and the M120i has been described as the spiritual successor of the original M325i of the 1980's.


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