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First look: Soft-top for baby Beemer

Green for envy: New 1 Series Convertible fills another niche for BMW.

BMW 1 Series Convertible revealed ahead of 2008 introduction

1 Oct 2007

THREE months after unveiling its 1 Series Coupe, BMW has released the first official images and details of a convertible version that will follow the coupe into Australia during 2008.

Filling yet another market niche for the prestige German brand, the 1 Series Convertible features a fabric roof and, like its tin-lidded stablemates, will have a 135i model variant – using BMW’s awesome 225kW 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine – as its flagship.

On-sale dates are still to be confirmed for Australia, however the convertible is now expected to make its debut Down Under alongside the 1 Series Coupe at the Melbourne International Motor Show in March 2008.

The coupe will reach showrooms in the first quarter but the cabriolet is not due until next Spring.

While BMW this year moved to a three-piece folding metal roof for the first time on the 3 Series Convertible, the 1 Series features an insulated fabric roof finished in black, beige or a new anthracite finish that features shiny interwoven metallic fibres that produces an iridescent look.

14 center imageAt 22 seconds, the roof opens and closes in a similar time to the 3 Series Convertible – at speeds of up to 40km/h – and stores away cleanly under a solid cover.

As well as all the usual safety equipment, pop-up roll bars are fitted behind the rear headrests to protect the occupants in the event of a roll-over.

Like the 3 Series, the new 1 Series Cabriolet also features BMW’s “Sun Reflective Technology” upholstery – seen for the first time in the M6 Convertible – which keeps the seats cooler to the touch by reflecting ultra-violet rays.

Luggage space in the 1 Series Convertible is naturally reduced from the regular hatchback, dropping from 330 litres to 280 litres with the roof up.

Retracting the roof reduces the volume for cargo by a further 40 litres, but BMW claims this is still enough to hold two golf bags without utilising the through-loading aperture into the rear seat. The rear seat backrest can also be folded.

BMW Australia has not revealed which models will initially come here, but has a full range of four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines to choose from in addition to the twin-turbo.

European 1 Series Convertible models at launch will include a 118i (105kW four-cylinder), 120i (125kW six-cylinder), 125i (160kW six-cylinder), 135i and also a 130kW turbo-diesel – all fitted standard with an M Sport bodykit.

BMW describes the 1 Series Convertible as “the only premium class vehicle of this type in the market”.

“The 1 Series Convertible will be particularly attractive to customers who live in the inner city where parking is hard to find, but who want to enjoy premium convertible motoring,” said BMW Australia managing director Guenther Seemann.

“This exciting new car also brings convertible BMW motoring to a new segment of the market and we are sure it will be a success in Australia from the moment it arrives.

“Coupled with the already announced 135i Coupe, BMW has two of the most attractive new cars of 2008 on the blocks.”

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