What’s New – The 1 Series is all-new for 2008, marking BMW’s return to the smaller-than-a-3 Series segment. However, much of the technology and hardware is standard BMW issue, including the two six-cylinder engines, optional navigation system with iDrive, and sporty rear-drive character. Prices start just under $30,000 for the 1 Series, which is available in coupe and convertible forms.
Why It Matters – Whether due to higher gas prices or an iffy economy, many car buyers are considering smaller, less expensive alternatives to what they might have purchased just a few years ago. And then there are others who simply want an affordable car that’s a total blast to drive, one that comes from an aspirational brand such as BMW.
BMW 1 Series – 2008 First Drive: Personal needs and individual wants. They’re why some of us call a cramped studio in New York City home while others lay their heads down in a Malibu mansion; why some of us take a job directly out of high school and others earn multiple degrees; why some of us know the definition of “business attire” and others couldn’t find two of the same socks if their lives depended on it; and why Ben & Jerry’s offers more flavors than there are people in its home state of Vermont.
It’s the same reasoning behind the development of the 2008 BMW 1 Series, a German luxury car that provides the driving thrill and amenities found in the popular 3 Series, albeit in a smaller and arguably less attractive package. For shoppers seeking the driving character associated with the Bavarian Motor Works brand, are possibly looking for a less expensive sports car that theoretically accommodates up to four passengers, or simply want a 3 Series that fits into a tight metered parking space, BMW offers the 1 Series as its best solution. Understanding that as popular as they may be, the existing lineup of 3, 5, 6, and 7 Series coupes, convertibles and sedans don’t necessarily fit the lifestyle of every potential BMW customer, engineers took what was best from those models – namely stellar handling and two exciting six-cylinder engines – and put them into an entry-level ride that starts at less than $30,000.
If this is just the car you’ve been waiting for, you’re in luck – coupes went on sale in March and the convertible will follow within several weeks. Dubbing 2008 Year One of the 1, the first run of 1 Series models will feature an inscription on the ring surrounding the push button ignition as well as a commemorative book with a copy of the VIN plate and a certificate of authenticity.