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2009 BMW 1 Series

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2009 BMW 1 Series Review


Unstable gas prices and increasingly crowded roads have turned many car-buyers' eyes toward small cars. BMW once dominated this market with its iconic 2002 and later with the first Z convertibles. With the introduction last year of the 1 Series Convertible, BMW proves it still has what it takes to compete in the entry-level luxury market. The smart and stylish 1 Series provides a drop-top coupe catering to those who think BMW's 3 Series has grown too big and expensive.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you think smaller and lighter cars tend to be the most fun, we think you'll like the 2009 BMW 1 Series Convertible. It features a quiet, well insulated top and excellent top-down air-flow management, freeing it from the vices that commonly plague convertibles.

You May Not Like This Car If...

You may not like the BMW 1 Series Convertible if you want both front and rear passengers to be equally comfortable, as the rear seats border on claustrophobic.

What's New for 2009

A heated steering wheel is added the 128i's Cold Weather Package and becomes a stand alone option on the 135i. 1 Series cars ordered with navigation receive the latest iDrive system, which includes new menus, programmable memory keys and access to Google Maps.

Driving the 1 Series
Driving Impressions

While many convertibles drive like watered-down versions of their fixed-roof siblings, the 2009 BMW 1 Series Convertible retains most of the sharp handling dynamics found in its Coupe counterpart. Steering...

... feel is good, offering just the right amount of resistance and precise control of the front wheels. The structure of the 1 Series Convertible feels strong and is generally free of rattles and squeaks when driving over rough pavement. The 230-horsepower engine in the 128i is no slouch, but with 300 horsepower on tap the twin-turbocharged engine in the 135i is the real star. It's the same engine used in the larger, heavier 3 Series and, in the smaller 135i, it delivers great power to pass and a swift zero-to-60-mph time of 5.3 seconds.

Sun Reflective Upholstery
Driving a convertible is fun but also offers its share of inconveniences. For example, on particularly bright and sunny days the interior surfaces of many convertibles retain a lot of heat. The optional Boston leather interior treatment of the 1 Series Convertible features Sun Reflective technology, which virtually eliminates this problem.

Soft Top
The BMW 1 Series Convertible features a three-layer soft top that keeps road and wind noise to near coupe-like levels. Additionally, the power-operated top can be raised or lowered in about 22 seconds and at speeds up to 25 miles per hour.

2009 BMW 1 Series Details
2009 BMW 1 Series photo Interior

The 1 Series is the least expensive convertible offered by BMW, but the interior treatment is anything but cheap, featuring high-quality materials and modern style. With the soft top in the raised position the cabin remains impressively quiet and, with the top lowered, airflow around the cabin is nicely controlled. Seating in the 1 Series Convertible is limited to four and, while front-seat passengers enjoy good head and leg room, rear-seat passengers might feel cramped by limited shoulder space. Trunk space is tight but, with clever arrangement, there is enough room for a weekend's worth of luggage.

2009 BMW 1 Series photo

Bucking the current trend toward retractable hardtops, BMW has equipped the 1 Series with a fabric top, a decision we support, considering the fabric top's lighter weight and excellent sound insulation. The 1 Series Convertible features a wide, sporty stance that is further accentuated by lowering the convertible top. Adding to the visual impact are a sharply creased shoulder line, signature BMW twin-kidney grille and a spoiler integrated into the trunk lid. The more-powerful 135i sports an aggressive exterior treatment that includes an additional rear spoiler to provide greater downforce at high speeds.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Among the standard features offered on the 2009 BMW 1 Series Convertible are automatic climate control with convertible mode setting, power windows with one-touch up-and-down function, power-retractable soft top, rain-sensing windshield wipers, cruise control and a 10-speaker audio system with auxiliary input for MP3 players. In terms of safety, the 1 Series includes standard front and front-side airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), stability and traction controls and active roll bars that automatically deploy in the event of a vehicle roll-over.

Optional Equipment

Many of the available options are divided into packages. The Cold Weather Package includes heated front seats and a ski bag with pass-through from the trunk to the cabin; on the 128i, a heated steering wheel is included as well. The Premium Package features power front seats with memory, auto-dimming mirrors, leather seating and an interior lighting package. The Sport Package increases the speed setting of the top speed limiter and adds sport seats plus other racy details. Stand-alone options include a navigation system, a heated steering wheel (135i), xenon headlights, HD radio, satellite radio and BMW's Active Steering system.

Under the Hood

Most buyers will find the 230-horsepower in-line six-cylinder engine powering the 128i to be perfectly acceptable. Those who want even more performance can choose the 135i and its twin-turbocharged engine, which produces 300 horsepower, enabling acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour in a little more than five seconds. Both models feature a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic.

3.0-liter in-line 6
230 horsepower at 6500 rpm
200 lb.-ft. of torque at 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (automatic), 18/28 (manual)

3.0-liter in-line 6 Turbocharged
300 horsepower at 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque at 1400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/26

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

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