- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 11, 2010

For drivers whose definition of Joy includes wind in the face and sunshine above, the BMW 1 Series Convertible continues the tradition established by the iconic BMW 2002 sport sedan. The essence of such driving purity - a responsive inline-6 engine perfectly positioned within a rear-drive chassis to provide balanced, sporty dynamics - is at the heart of this compact four-seat convertible.

For the 2011 model year, two versions are available: the 128i (starting at $35,075 including $875 destination fee) and the 135i (starting at $41,225 including $875 destination fee).

The 2011 BMW 128i Convertible is powered by BMW’s 3.0-liter, 230 horsepower inline-6 engine generating 200 lb-ft of torque. Like its fixed-roof stablemate, the 128i Convertible features Valvetronic valvetrain management and aluminum/ magnesium cylinder block construction - core elements of BMW’s EfficientDynamics philosophy.

The big news for the 1 Series Convertible is that the 2011 BMW 135i features BMW’s newest, 3.0-liter inline-6 engine. Equipped with a single, twin-scroll turbocharger and BMW’s revolutionary Valvetronic throttle-less intake technology, the engine produces the same 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque as its predecessor, but now reaches peak torque as low as 1,200 rpm, which is 200 rpm earlier than the 2010 model. With its High Precision direct gasoline injectors, optimum performance and fuel efficiency are achieved with even faster engine response across the entire engine speed range. For the 135i Convertible, acceleration from 0-60 mph is accomplished with the standard 6-speed manual transmission in 5.4 seconds.

Also for the 2011 model year, the 135i can be equipped with BMW’s 7-speed Double Clutch Transmission (DCT), as featured on the BMW Z4 Roadster. The DCT option replaces the Steptronic automatic transmission option on 135i models. Equipped with DCT, the 135i Convertible will accomplish the 0-60 mph sprint in a scant 5.3 seconds. The 6-speed Steptronic automatic remains optional on the 128i. So equipped, the 128i Convertible runs 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds, or 6.4 seconds with the standard 6-speed manual transmission.

Distinctive BMW Convertible appearance

In a mere 22 seconds-even on the move at speeds up to 25 miles per hour-occupants of the 1 Series Convertible can go from encapsulated comfort to top-down exhilaration. If conditions dictate, the electro-hydraulically-operated softtop can be raised within the same 22 seconds, producing a distinctive silhouette enhanced by long frameless doors. The characteristic features of the BMW kidney-shaped grill, front skirt, door sills and rear skirt are identical to those of the 1 Series Coupe.

The standard softtop is available in either black or taupe cloth, but it is the optional Moonlight Black version which is unique to the 1 Series Convertible. Interwoven with fine shiny metallic fibers, this distinctive top produces a shimmery metallic silver appearance in sunlight. The visual effect enhances the convertible’s exciting range of nine colors which includes an exclusive hue: Cashmere Silver Metallic.

A distinctive feature of the 1 Series Convertible is the flared shoulder line which runs parallel to the road. This shoulder line flows from the hood past the A pillar to the trunk lid, forming a surface which encompasses the entire interior, giving the impression of a boat deck.

The view from the rear is influenced by the position of the softtop: with the top lowered, completely concealed in the tail, the look is flat and elegant; the appearance with the top up is broad shouldered. The trunk lid has an integrated spoiler chiseled into the rear end of the car to accentuate the short rear section. On the 135i, an additional lip spoiler provides greater downforce on the rear end at high speeds.

The individual sections within the L-shaped rear taillights give the vehicle a lower, sportier look. Horizontal lights integrated in the rear light clusters offer a homogeneous lighting effect with the help of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This light design, as found on other BMW models, makes the BMW 1 Series Convertible stand out at night. Also, the Adaptive Brake Lights operating in two stages in relation to brake application force are yet another feature typical of BMW, with the additional benefit of extra safety on the road.

The standard (on the 135i) Adaptive Xenon Headlights (optional on the 128i), complete with integrated cornering lights, make driving in the dark safer than ever. The daytime running light function, in typical BMW style, uses the four corona rings around each headlight to enhance the visibility of the car under normal and “murky” light conditions.

Convertible interior features technology enhanced comfort, convenience

Two unique BMW 1 Series Convertible features provide increased driver and passenger comfort, thus improving the overall experience regardless of the top’s position. The optional Boston leather incorporates BMW’s Sun Reflective Technology where pigments worked into the upholstery mitigate the effect of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Excessive heating of the seats and armrest is diminished, especially for darker interior colors. The overall effect can produce surface temperatures some 20 degrees Fahrenheit below a comparable “normal” leather interior.

The standard upholstery is sporty and comfortable Leatherette, which is also the covering on the optional Sport Package’s sport seats with enhanced side support (Boston leather can be selected for this package).

Story Continues →