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The 2011 BMW 1-Series doesn't see many changes for the new model year, but the few it does get are significant, making the 1-Series a technological standout in the entry-level luxury sports car market. Appearance is largely unaltered for 2011, with the love-it-or-leave-it styling a deciding factor for some.
The 1-Series gets a new seven-speed dual-cloth transmission (DCT) that replaces the automatic, available only on the 135i. The high-tech transmission delivers silky-smooth shifts in automatic mode and precise, rev-matched shifts in manual mode.
The range-topping 135i's engine is also updated for 2011, replacing the previous twin-turbo inline six-cylinder with a 300-horsepower twin-scroll, single-turbo version. Available in naturally aspirated form as well in the 128i model, both engine options can be slotted into either coupe or convertible body styles.
A wide range of features and options can be had for materials, appearance, and equipment. The tech experience revolves around the fourth-generation iDrive system, which can still be complex to operate, though it's much improved over earlier generations.
The base price of the 2011 1-Series, which is on sale now, stays stable, at $30,025 for the 128i and $36,925 for the 135i. All 1-Series models are rear-wheel drive. Competitive cars include the Porsche Boxster and Cayman, the Audi A3, and the Lexus IS and IS C.
- Acceleration (135i)
- Good handling
- Well-made interior
- Attractive exterior
- Affordable for a luxury coupe
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- A bit on the heavy side
- Almost no room in the backseat
- Not the most comfortable up front
- Pricey for its size