We recently had the opportunity to drive the new BMW 125i Convertible and even though this car is not available in the U.S., we believe it might be interesting to learn more about BMWs that are available in Europe only.
In Germany you can get the smallest of the BMW Convertibles equipped with two different four-cylinder petrol-engines, 118i and 120i, two six-cylinder petrol-engines, 125i and 135i, and you can also get three types of Diesel-engines, available in the 118d, 120d and 123d.
The 1er Convertible that we drove is the smallest inline-six, delivering 218 horsepower, which our opinion, it turned out to be sufficient for the car size.
Although you don’t get things like the fabulous Head Up-Display or the Active Cruise Control for the 1-series Convertible, you’re still get everything you really need: Navigation System, leather, PDC, heated seats and all the other “amenities” most of us are used to by now.
The 1-series Convertible is what you can really call a classy cabrio. Its design is very similar to the coupe version and due to its soft-top, even convertible-enthusiasts who don’t like the modern folding hardtops are being satisfied.
Opening or closing the roof takes about 20 seconds, which is not exactly too short, but in line with other convertibles. The Mercedes SLK opens and closes its top in 22 seconds.
Looking at the car from the side, you get the typical BMW short overhangs, long wheelbase, relatively long hood that gives enough room for BMW’s famous inline-six-cylinder powerplants. The beauty of it is that it doesn’t have this strange looking, extremely short rear and boxed-in rear-end like the Audi A3 Convertible.
The A3 has been considered to be a direct competitor to the 1 Series Convertible.
In general, the 1-series “earned” a lot of bad press in Europe for it’s interior quality which hasn’t been on par with the competition from the beginning. It might not have been as bad or unattractive as some journalists called it, but there was some room for improvement.
So with the facelift rolled out in early 2007, BMW made some changes to the interior for all the 1-series models. The visual changes were minimal and they were mostly noticeable in the quality of the interior materials as well as the overall build quality.
It was not surprising that the interior of “‘our” 125i was well built, the finishes were up to the standards of a entry luxury cars and there hasn’t been a single unwanted sound as one might imagine in a convertible.
The dashboard is typical to all 1-series models, therefore every button is where you would expect it to be, a friendly interior that many BMW owners or fans are familiar with. The only visible difference when compared to all the other 1-series models, is the button for the roof-mechanics, but hey, we couldn’t operate the soft-top without that one.
The interior and exterior design can either make or break the deal for many customers, but what BMW is really famous for and what a BMW is all about, is of course the driving experience and the involvement of the driver.
And the BMW 1 Series Convertible does not dissapoint. With its perfect weight-distribution, rear-wheel-drive and the great engine under the hood, you can feel you are driving a BMW and that gives you the kind of confidence in the car you need if you want to drive it fast.
You just know that there won’t be tons of understeer, like in some other cars. Although to some people a convertible is mainly about cruising and relaxing, the BMW 1 Series Convertible can be pushed to its limit, which are not low I might add, and be one of the most fun you have driven in a while.
But it isn’t an overly harsh ride like you might expect, instead it really offers a good balance between comfort and sportiness. You can still cruise around in your convertible and you can also carry your mother-in-law to her next garden-party without hearing a single complaint.
Due to its 218 ponies, the BMW 125i Convertible runs from 0-60 mph(0-100km/h) in just under 7 seconds and it reaches a top speed of 148 mph (238 km/h). When taking the car through high-revs and aggressive driving, the fuel consumption is the one we expect, around 20 mpg or 11.5 liters/100km. But the numbers improve when you take the 1er through a more relaxed and quiet drive, giving a 29 mpg (8.1 liter/100km) rating which is closer to our heart.
If we’re looking to criticize the BMW 125i convertible – yes, we do that too once in a while – there is still room for improvement. For example, the aforementioned slowness in the opening and closing the soft-top, could be improved by a few seconds. The interior space could be a little more spacious offering a more comfortable ride to someone taller.
The overall impression is positive though, handsome interior and exterior design, driving performance that you expect from a bimmer and a decent fuel consumption when cruising around.
For those of you looking for a convertible in this price, the BMW 125i Convertible should definitely be on your list.
At the end, let me leave you with this video of the car accelerating from 40 to 160 km/h ( I apologize for the lower vid quality):[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpAxum1-_Ss[/youtube]