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Valentine One Radar Detector

Eric
05-29-2008, 12:03 PM
BMW's new 1-Series coupe is a new model for BMW - but in so many ways it's like an old friend - and an older type of BMW that hasn't been available for a long, long time.

How so?

Unlike many recent BMWs, the 1-Series is high-status and high-performance, but not high-priced; $28,600 to start - so not all that far removed from middlebrow-branded cars that aren't nearly as engaging to drive. It offers rear seats - and rear-wheel-drive, too - making it almost unique in its segment. Virtually all compact-sized RWD performance coupes are two-seaters (like BMW's own Z4, for example). If rear seats are part of the package, rear-wheel-drive usually isn't. Virtually all compact-sized two-plus-twos are based on FWD platforms - and so have more in common with economy-oriented cars than high-end performance cars.

But perhaps the most appealing thing about the new 1-Series is that while it is a high-end car, it is free of much of the highly aggravating high-teched folderol (most notably, BMW's own iDrive "mouse" controller) that is increasingly hard to avoid in "status" cars of any brand.

It's a true driver's car you can afford - and which you can drive without constantly fighting an insolent and intractable computer along the way.

Been a long time, baby... .

ENGINES & PERFORMANCE

The I-Series offers two engines, both in-line sixes and identical in every way to the engines used in the larger/heavier 3-Series sedans and coupes.

The base engine in the 128i ($28,600) is a 3.0 liter DOHC six developing 230 hp. The step-up engine in the 135i ($34,900) is also a 3 liter DOHC six - but boosted with twin turbos to 300 hp. This engine not only offers 70 more horses, but a triple-digit uptick in torque output (300 lbs.-ft. vs. the base engine's 200 lbs.-ft.), with peak torque that's available at an incredibly low 1,300 RPM and which is maintained throughout the power band.

The result is effortless pull - and easy tire-chirping gear changes - from idle speed all the way to the engine's 7,000-plus RPM redline.

You can select either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic (with manual "sport" mode). The same engine/transmission combos are also offered in the convertible versions of the 1-Series ($33,100 for the 128i convertible; $39,100 for the 135i convertible.)

Several key points to mention.

First, as good as both these engines are in the 3-Series, they are even better in the 1-Series because they have considerably less weight to lug around. The 135i, for example, has a curb weight of 3,375 lbs. - vs. 3,571 lbs. for the 335i with the same engine. That's almost a 200 lb. weight advantage for the 135i. (The 128i is about 100 lbs. lighter than the 328i.) Thus, performance in both 1-Series models is superior to that of their same-engined but heavier 3-Series.

The 128i can nail 60 mph in about 6 seconds flat; the turbo'd 335i cuts that down by almost 1 full second. In both cases, the Ones are a couple of tenths quicker than the Threes.

RIDE & HANDLING

Everything you expect from a BMW is here - superb balance, the surgically precise steering, that sense of absolute confidence in the car that gives you confidence in yourself. The shorter wheelbase (104.7 inches vs. 108.7 inches) and lower curb weight also give the 1-Series a lighter - and arguably, more sporty - feel than the 3-Series. But it's not as twitchy as the very short wheelbase (98.2 inches) Z4, which like many such cars can get skittery when you lay on the throttle in a tight turn. In this way, it's a more forgiving car - yet it doesn't compromise dynamic handling/responsiveness, either.

Ride quality is also 100 percent "BMW" - meaning it's firm but never harsh. It's all about composure - and these cars deliver that quality better than just about anything else on the road.

STYLING & UTILITY

This is subjective - your opinion may differ - but I think the One looks tighter and better proportioned than the Three. Being shorter definitely helps; there doesn't seem to be a wasted overhang or superfluous panel anywhere. Again, it's a nice counterpoint the look-at-me provocativeness of the Z4 - and the more formal, slightly thick-looking Three.

The interior is a high point, as it is in all BMWs. Top-drawer materials (including sunlight reflecting material for the seats, to help keep your backside cool and the seat covers themselves from fading and eventually cracking and splitting) and a simple, effective overall layout. No need to pore over an owner's manual for hours - or spend weeks getting used to gratuitously over-elaborate controls. The notorious iDrive controller is available - but it's optional. The bad news is it's packaged with the DVD navigation system, so if you want that you're stuck with iDrive. That is really the only unkind thing I can think of to say about this car. My recommendation is to skip the factory installed navigation system - and avoid the iDrive messing up your drive. Then buy an aftermarket GPS, if it's a must-have feature.

Base 128i coupes come standard with lots of high-end stuff, including rain-sensing wipers, 10-speaker stereo, leather/leatherette trim, manual control AC and 17-inch rims with sport tires; the 135i notches it up with 18-inch rims, firmer suspension settings, adaptive headlights and auto climate control. For now, there's no M version - but you can order an M steering wheel and special sport buckets. Bluetooth connectivity, iPod hook-up, HD/satellite radio and keyless ignition/entry which automatically unlock for you when you grab the door pulls are a few of the optionally available high-tech highlights.

Both the trunk and the back seats are kind of tight - but at least they are there. Cramped back seats are better than no back seats at all - especially if you occasionally must carry kids around. And while the 1-Series' 10 cubic foot trunk won't take a skid from Wal-Mart, it will take several bags of groceries; and if you need more room, you've still got those back seats. The fact is the 128i and the 1351i have only slightly less usable rear seat space than the bigger, heavier - and much more expensive 3-Series coupes.

The only negative, practicality-wise, is that the 1-Series does not offer all-wheel-drive as the 3-Series does - and it only comes in coupe/convertible bodystyles - while the Three can be had as a coupe, convertible, sedan or sportwagon.

Gotta leave the Threes some selling points, I guess!

QUALITY & SAFETY

BMWs are exceptionally well-engineered cars with brilliant engines and a deserved reputation for meticulous attention to detail and overall high quality. BMW dealers are sometimes known to be snooty and not as helpful as, say, Lexus dealers. But the cars themselves are hard to fault and historically have proved to be very durable - provided you do not ignore the BMW-recommended service procedures.

Safety-wise, the One comes with both electronic traction control and stability control - which can (hooray!) be readily shut off for those times when you want full control, even if it comes at the expense of tire life. ABS with a "wipe" feature (if it rains, the calipers will automatically pulse lightly to keep the rotors dry) is also standard. Manual-equipped cars get a hill-holder clutch that keeps the car from rolling backward when you start off on an incline. Coupes get side and curtain air bags for both rows while convertible versions get their own unique head/side air bags that are positioned to provide the extra protection that the roof/side structure would otherwise provide - along with pop-up rollover bars in case the car flips.

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

Loved this car - every minute of it. My 135i pulled like a muscle car yet purred like a kitten. The perfect tool for road-bound wet work. It is like a Ninja; you don't see it coming, it makes little noise - but takes care of business and is gone before anyone realizes what just happened. I like the Z4, too (not to mention the M3) but like any car of that type, it's harder to have fun without eventually suffering badly for it. Every cop regards you as a potential "lesson" in the making; every 20-something dweezil with a fart-canned and body-kitted '98 Civic wants to race you.

Who needs that?

The One delivers the driving fun of a high-powered RWD roadster like the Z4 with the at-least-somewhat practical layout of a two-plus-two coupe.

But it does it for a helluva lot less than the 3-Series, which starts out at $35,300 for the 328i and runs to $40,800 for the 335i.

THE BOTTOM LINE

In the One, you can have your back seats, your rear wheel-drive performance - and your twin turbo six - for about $5,000 less.

damen
05-29-2008, 04:40 PM
I really really love the 135i...
but I still think its overpriced

Eric
05-29-2008, 04:45 PM
I really really love the 135i...
but I still think its overpriced


There's a big debate raging about this. One view is it's expensive - relative to other small 2-plus-2s (as well as slightly larger RWD performance coupes such as the Infiniti G). The second view is that it's pretty much unique in its layout - and that given what you get (both engines are potent performers, RWD, the status that comes with being a BMW, etc.) it's actually a pretty good deal. I hold the second view. To me, the 3-Series is the one that's overpriced; the base car is underpowered (for $35k) and the 335i, though nice, is also pricey at $40k for the coupe... .

Disco Man
05-29-2008, 05:39 PM
Great little performance car (especially the turbo) but sure does not have that low BMW 2002 price. Of course since the days of the 2002, BMW has grown from a base "Chevy" type German automaker to an upscale luxury automaker, unfortunately part of the high price is the "BMW" nameplate. The other part of the high price is the high Euro and the low Dollar.

BMW 2002:

http://www.bavariacars.com.au/user_files/motor/EZ_2002.JPG

Eric
05-30-2008, 10:06 AM
"Great little performance car (especially the turbo) but sure does not have that low BMW 2002 price."

I dunno... .

The base car is only about $28k... so in the same ballpark as an Accord coupe or Altima coupe... but unlike those, it is RWD (and also a prestige brand). And the $35k 135i has 300 hp and is comparable (or superior) to the Mustang GT as a performance coupe and much higher status....

misterdecibel
05-30-2008, 02:49 PM
How was the fit for a 6'4" driver?

Disco Man
05-30-2008, 02:58 PM
I dunno... .

The base car is only about $28k... so in the same ballpark as an Accord coupe or Altima coupe... but unlike those, it is RWD (and also a prestige brand). And the $35k 135i has 300 hp and is comparable (or superior) to the Mustang GT as a performance coupe and much higher status....



You make a valid point however I would be willing to bet with a few options the 300 horsepower turbo 135i will be $40,000 or more. Compare that to a 300 horsepower Mustang GT with a lot of options would be around $30,000.

Eric
05-30-2008, 04:35 PM
How was the fit for a 6'4" driver?


Ample room for me; the back seats are tight (they always are in cars of this kind) but up front it was very roomy - including headroom.

Eric
05-30-2008, 04:37 PM
I dunno... .

The base car is only about $28k... so in the same ballpark as an Accord coupe or Altima coupe... but unlike those, it is RWD (and also a prestige brand). And the $35k 135i has 300 hp and is comparable (or superior) to the Mustang GT as a performance coupe and much higher status....



You make a valid point however I would be willing to bet with a few options the 300 horsepower turbo 135i will be $40,000 or more. Compare that to a 300 horsepower Mustang GT with a lot of options would be around $30,000.


No question, if you add options, the price goes way up. But I can - easily - live without the GPS system (and the obnoxious iDrive that is packaged with it). Don't need much else that's not already included. The as it sits car would be fine for me.

I really liked this one. Easily the best overall BMW I have tried in years....

Disco Man
05-30-2008, 04:52 PM
Ample room for me; the back seats are tight (they always are in cars of this kind) but up front it was very roomy - including headroom.


BMW is one of the very few auto manufacturers who make sure every car they make has plenty of leg and headroom for taller drivers.

Disco Man
05-31-2008, 05:39 AM
Just posted this article on the main page with pictures:

http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=526&Itemid=10848


http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=526&Itemid=10848

Eric
05-31-2008, 07:03 AM
Ample room for me; the back seats are tight (they always are in cars of this kind) but up front it was very roomy - including headroom.


BMW is one of the very few auto manufacturers who make sure every car they make has plenty of leg and headroom for taller drivers.


Yep - like BMW bikes, they fit big people!

chiph
05-31-2008, 07:13 PM
I went to bmwusa.com and specced out a 135i with reasonable options, and I was quickly at the 40k mark.

I stand by my earlier assertion that it's too heavy and too expensive.

Chip H.

Eric
05-31-2008, 07:31 PM
I went to bmwusa.com and specced out a 135i with reasonable options, and I was quickly at the 40k mark.

I stand by my earlier assertion that it's too heavy and too expensive.

Chip H.



Just curious - which options?

I know this is subjective, but for me, the standard equipment package on the 135i is sufficient.

As far as weight: Yes, they (both versions of the 1-Series) could be lighter; but they are lighter than the 3-Series and both engines are plenty powerful, delivering very good (and in the case of the 135i, excellent) performance.

I liked this car a lot - and I have grown sour on other recent BMWs, in part because of less than great styling, in part because of excessive technology, in part because of cost.

But $35k for a well-equipped (to me) twin-turbo RWD BMW two-plus-two coupe seems like a not bad deal at all....!

chiph
05-31-2008, 08:35 PM
My assumption was this would be a commuter car that I could also have some fun with on the weekends.

I wanted the Homelink, auto-dimming mirror and compass, and you can only get that with the Premium Package ($3500)
Plus the Cold Weather Package (leather can be cold in the winter)
And the iPod and HD radio options.
I also checked the box for automatic transmission -- heresy, I know. But for a commuter car, I can concentrate more on what the other drivers are doing.

Chip H.

Eric
05-31-2008, 09:28 PM
"I wanted the Homelink, auto-dimming mirror and compass, and you can only get that with the Premium Package ($3500)"

This is a general source of annoyance w/so many new cars - BMW included. They force you to buy a very expensive package to get the one or two options you want.....

misterdecibel
06-01-2008, 03:34 AM
BMW were pioneers in linking desired features into Premium Option Group packages. Max Hoffman, BMW's importer in the '60s and '70s, also invented the "mandatory option", in which a feature is not included in the base price, but every single car imported into the USA had it.

Eric
06-01-2008, 06:54 AM
BMW were pioneers in linking desired features into Premium Option Group packages. Max Hoffman, BMW's importer in the '60s and '70s, also invented the "mandatory option", in which a feature is not included in the base price, but every single car imported into the USA had it.


Yep; and pretty shitty, too. I think it hurts the companies that practice it more than it helps their bottom line. I wonder how many sales BMW will lose, for example, when people discover that to get the I-Series they want with the equipment they want they'll have to pay several thousand dollars more than MSRP?

At least they made it possible to avoid iDrive. But the higher models still come with it as a standard feature - and as good as BMWs are in so many other ways, that iDrive is such a turnoff for me that I would not buy the car for that reason alone.