Review BMW 125i Coupe New car

27 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Review BMW 125i Coupe New car
BMW 125

Review of the new BMW 125i Coupe

CLASS OF THE FIELD

BMW 125I COUPE

(7.2 out of 10)

REVIEW DATE: 27 фев 2008

BMW’s 125i may look a little odd but it’s business as usual when it comes to making its rivals appear second rate. Andy Enright reports.

BMW 125I COUPE NEW CAR ROAD TEST

Compromise isn’t a dirty word as far as the BMW 125i Coupe is concerned. It’s quick enough for most, comes with a manageable price tag and is even reasonably practical. If you can live with the wilfully unorthodox styling, it’s a car that has a lot to offer the enthusiast driver.

If you’re much younger than about 30 years of age, you’re probably wondering why many BMW fans get so dewy-eyed over the old E30 generation BMW 3 Series. The last of the really square baby Beemers, this car is revered by many. These same aficionados are now getting quite excited over the BMW 1 Series coupe, seeing it as a reincarnation of many of the values preserved in the hallowed E30.

Of course it’s a far more modern car with all that entails, but in the 125i Coupe, BMW has produced a car with some real old-school appeal.

Like all the best BMWs, there’s the 50:50 weight distribution, derived from the classic engine at the front, drive to the rear layout. Then you have a great engine, a simple, driver-focused cabin and a playful chassis. The closer you examine the car, the more you come to the conclusion that BMW has worked hard to meld the best aspects of old and new.

You used to know where you stood with BMW badging. A BMW 325i was a Three Series with a 2.5-litre engine. Sometime in the early Eighties, BMW started to get into the habit of fudging this issue. The 125i Coupe uses similar sleight of hand to disguise the fact that under the bluff front end, there’s not a two and a half litre lump. Instead there’s a rather high-tech 2,996cc piece of plumbing that will generate 218bhp.

In a car this small, that’s a lot of power. True, it’s somewhat dwarfed by the 306bhp 135i range topper, but it’s still enough to catapult the 125i to 60mph in just 6.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 152mph. Do you really need to go much faster?

The car rides on double-joint spring strut suspension at the front and a five-link arrangement at the rear, chosen to leave the maximum degree of adjustability available to the chassis engineers. Big power like this in a compact rear wheel drive car is a recipe for big fun but also for the odd hairy moment.

With this in mind, BMW’s DSC dynamic stability control is standard and the two more gutsy engines get DSC+, which includes various additional features to help with brake performance amongst other things. The traction control component of the DSC system allows a degree of wheel slip before reining-in the throttle, which will spur on the keen driver.

The 3.0-litre 125i will be plenty enough car for all but the most power-starved performance enthusiast..

From the A-pillar forwards, the 1 Series Coupe looks ostensibly similar to the more familiar hatchback car with the bumper jutting forward from the plain of the grille and headlamps. Below, the air intakes are more aggressively shaped and as you progress back down the car’s length, the differences become more pronounced. The booted outline of the car owes more to the 3 Series Saloon and Coupe than the 1 Series.

The car is 133mm longer than the hatchback that spawned it and the sharply angled windscreen, along with the protruding rear, emphasise this. Beneath the boot lid, which is drawn up into a subtle spoiler, the available space is measured at 370 litres, that’s 20 litres up on the hatch and there’s a 60:40 split rear seat to add a little of the hatchback’s practicality.

The interior will hold few surprises for existing BMW owners. The high quality materials and solid construction always impress and it’s this general classiness that makes it all feel special rather than any stand-out detailing. The major controls for the entertainment and ventilation system are confined to a panel ahead of the gear lever and the rest of the stuff you need is clustered on or around the steering wheel where it’s simple to access on the road.

BMW 125

Plump for the 125i Coupe and you’re faced with a choice of two trim levels. The starter point is represented by the £23,425 SE model and while this remains a very well equipped car for the money, it’s hard to see that many buyers being able to resist the extras served up by the £25,280 M Sport derivative. This adds 18-inch alloy wheels, sports seats and a body styling kit and really gives the 125i Coupe a bit of attitude.

Despite the punchy performance and sports car dynamics served-up by the 1 Series Coupe, the car is still being positioned as an entry-point to the sportier side of BMW. Targeted at younger buyers who may otherwise have gravitated towards the current crop of performance coupes or premium performance hatchbacks, the 1 Series Coupe has been designed to offer a sophisticated but highly capable alternative. It’s hard to find too many viable rivals for the 125i Coupe at that particular price point.

It’ll appeal to a far more elitist customer than an Audi TT and perhaps the nearest car in execution and performance is the significantly pricier Nissan 350Z.

BMW has built its name on the finely-honed driving dynamics of its products but the marque is rapidly fashioning a second major string to its bow in the area of engine efficiency. Where competitors have turned to all kinds of weird and wonderful hybrid or alternative fuel technologies to meet the environmental challenge, BMW’s short term efforts have concentrated on developing its conventional petrol and diesel engines.

The result is EfficientDynamics, a collection of measures that when implemented together, have a startling effect of fuel economy and emissions without harming performance. The 125i Coupe is in a different league to most similarly performing rivals, managing 35.8mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 190g/km of CO2.

Insurance groups for the 1 Series Coupe will reflect its performance but these costs are tempered somewhat by the strong residual values that we can safely expect the car to retain on the used market. With a low upfront price, strong badge equity and some very good reviews, the 1 Series Coupe already looks set to be a winner as far as retained value is concerned. The diesel models may well be the pick of the bunch as far as residuals are concerned but the 125i is always going to prove attractive to used buyers with its combination of economy and power.

The styling takes a bit of getting used to. Perhaps the steering could be a little more feelsome. The brakes could be meatier for sustained trackday work. Other than that, it’s hard to find fault with the BMW 1 Series Coupe and the 125i Coupe is a model that manages its compromises very well.

Any car that can make the frankly awesome 306bhp 135i Coupe look a trifle redundant has to be something very special indeed and the 3.0-litre 125i will be plenty enough car for all but the most power-starved performance enthusiast.

It’s hard not to get excited by some cars and the 125i Coupe is one that looks to have the key elements of the recipe bang-on. It’s quick, it’s surprisingly good value for money and BMW has worked to create that brilliant blend of old-school appeal and relentlessly modern efficiency. Keep your eye on this one.

It might well be remembered for many years to come.

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