Review: BMW 123d Coupe | German Car Forum

27 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Review: BMW 123d Coupe | German Car Forum
BMW 123

CorpusCallosum New Member

BMW 1 Series Coupé

It is something of an irony that while Audi grabs the headlines at Le Mans, BMW reaps some of the benefits by spending its time and money developing engines for the road that push the boundaries of diesel further with every new unit. The new 123d model boasts hot hatch output and performance figures alongside a parsimonious thirst.

In a class of its own – Dave Jenkins

Inside Out:4/5

The controversy around the 1 Series from an aesthetic perspective is further fuelled by this car#039;s appearance. From some angles it#039;s actually quite pretty, but from others (the front in particular) it remains, at best, challenging. This doesn#039;t seem to put people off though, as the 1 Series is now very common on our roads.

Although it is meant to represent a small and compact coupé, the 1 Series is actually of similar proportions to an old 3 Series. This means the interior offers almost as much space as the old 3 Series coupé and a generous boot into the bargain.

Engine Transmission:5/5

It#039;s the engine that grabs all the headlines here. The 335d had prepared us for the potential greatness of the latest generation of diesels and the spec sheet had whetted our appetites further, but the actual driving experience still left us deeply impressed. Over 200bhp and nearly 300lb.ft of torque are numbers worthy of any hot hatch or junior performance car; the fact they are produced by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine is remarkable, although over time such figures will become more common.

Using the same principals of twin turbo charging as the straight-six engine in the 335d, BMW has endowed this smaller four-pot with a broad rev range of usable performance. Anything over 1,200rpm and the 123d moves with a good deal of urgency and the smooth linear delivery remains constant right up to the red line, which is set at an impressively high 5,200rpm. Needless to say, the nature of the engine means revs aren#039;t essential; in-gear performance is very strong.

Given that you don#039;t need to stir the ratios that much, the fact the 123d enjoys one of the finest gearshifts we can remember in a BMW in recent times is something of an irony. The downside would be that the engine is a little louder than previous lower rated versions, but not excessively so, retaining a relaxing cruise and general good manners.

Formerly, assuming you could find one, a performance coupé with a diesel engine would have been sold purely on an economy basis, with a shortfall in performance being seen as a worthwhile compromise. However, in this case the BMW 123d offers pace akin to that of a VW Golf GTI whilst still retaining the virtues of economy, averaging 40mpg during our test, and therefore low emissions and tax loading.

Ride Handling: 4/5

When we drove the M Sport suspended version of the 130i we found it perhaps too stiff for the B-road fun we#039;d expect a BMW to deliver. The 1 Series Coupé is perhaps even stiffer than the hatch and so suffers some of the same issues on bumpier roads and gets caught out occasionally over ridges during motorway cruising as well. However, the damping and body control is better and there is no noticeable deterioration over the 130i#039;s ride – outright handling ability actually is improved.

BMW 123

The kerb weight of over 1,400kg is something of a disappointment, but doesn#039;t appear to be too detrimental: the grip, agility and balance all impress and on a smooth and flowing road the 1 Series Coupé is a very enjoyable car to drive. More steering feel – something of a recurring theme on virtually every new car now – would be nice. It#039;s also pleasing that BMW has given the Coupé a playful nature; all too willing to wag its tail with very little provocation.

This tendency can be reined in or unleashed via the three stages of traction control: on, partially disabled and fully off.

Equipment, Economy Value for Money: 4/5

The standard equipment list contains everything the majority of buyers would expect. Cruise control is an essential feature for cars of this ilk, but it remains an option. Given the visibility rear parking sensors are a sensible option too.

As is usual for a small performance coupé it is priced just above the hot hatch market and offers at least the same appeal in terms of driving and performance. In terms of running costs, relatively lengthy service periods, 40-plus mpg ability, low tax and depreciation should make the 1 Series Coupé an appealing ownership proposition.

Overall: 4/5

Racking our brains and scanning the manufacturers#039; price lists left us with a very short list of potential rivals for the BMW 123d. No other car offers the same blend of performance, economy and dynamic ability. We#039;ll stop short of saying BMW has created a new niche, but until cars from VW and Audi enter the fray the 1 Series Coupé does enjoy something of a free reign.

Looks really good in those pics and the review reads well for the car – good work BMW. This thing will be a smash hit the globe over!

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BMW 123
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