2009 BMW 1-Series Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
May 26, 2009

Has the 3-Series become too portly, expensive, and upscale? If you think so, the 2009 BMW 1-Series might make you happier.

To bring you the very best possible review of the 2009 BMW 1-Series, TheCarConnection.com has combed the Web and gathered insight and opinions from other reviewers. The editors of TheCarConnection.com have also driven the 1-Series and incorporate their own experiences, combined with knowledge of the market, here in this definitive Bottom Line.

The 2009 BMW 1-Series represents basic BMW at its best: It has design ties to 2002 and goes all the way back to the 1960s. Over the years, BMW's 3-Series line has evolved to the point that bigwigs recognized that the brand included a big gap at the lower end of the automotive spectrum. The goal of the 1-Series is to fill that gap—with new coupe and convertible variants.

The 1-Series shares the long hood/short deck of the 3-Series, but the 1-Series is smaller. Its 104.7-inch wheelbase is 4 inches shorter than the 3-Series Coupe, but its truncated shape is shy of its bigger sibling by half a foot. Overall width is almost 3 inches narrower.

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Two models are offered for each body style: 128i and 135i with a choice between 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions. The primary difference between the two is in the engine; the 128i makes use of a non-turbo 230-horsepower variant of BMW's 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder, while the pricier 135i delivers 306 hp from its twin-turbocharged version of the engine. BMW also uses these engines in its 3- and 5-series models.

The lates BMW 1-Series handles exceptionally well, steers like a proper sports car, and even functions nicely as an occasional use four-seater. There's even good cargo space in the convertible thanks to the top's compact mechanism. That said, the 1-Series isn't a lot cheaper than the equally solid 3-Series, especially once a lot of options are added.

Inside, the dimensions are reasonablyctorily generous, but the rear is bit more snug compared to the 3er. There is room in the back, but what do you expect, really? It's sufficient for occasional use. In a nod to practicality, the rear seat back of the 2009 1-Series includes both pass-through and 60/40 split-folding access to the trunk.

Interior accommodations in the 2009 BMW 1-Series are what you've come to expect from BMW of late: less austere and more attractive while remaining easy to use…with the notable exception of iDrive. The revised iDrive software is better than before, but it remains stifling at first encounter and often counterintuitive with experience. The interface, however, now communicates directly with USB-based MP3 players. All other major controls make perfect sense and are well positioned for easy use and/or viewing. A navigation system is optional. 2009 brings an optional heated steering wheel and a redesigned iDrive system. 

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