BMW 1-Series:

BMW 1 Series Arrives Plus Cabrio Update

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This week, BMW dealers across the United States began receiving the initial run of the new BMW 1 Series Coupe. Previewed on video (watch) by AutoPacific during the Los Angeles International Auto Show, the coupe looks even better on the showroom floor. While some dealers greed factor could be seen on the window sticker (between $2,000 and $5,000 over sticker), the real sales prices are more likely to be at or near the manufacturers price ($28,600 MSRP for the 128i ).

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The 1 Series represents a significant step for BMW. As the 3 Series has become larger with each new edition, room has opened up at the bottom of the model range for a new addition. And the 1 Series is only new in America – European models being available since 2004. The 1 Series is currently the only vehicle in its class featuring rear-wheel drive and a longitudinally-mounted engine


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BMW 1-Series Gets Soft-Top Convertible

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Sun and Sky for 1-Series, Too
Back in July, we brought you the first official photos and details on BMW’s new baby, the 1-Series. And as if you weren’t looking forward to it enough already, a convertible version has been confirmed. The convertible will arrive in spring 2008 in 128i form first, with the 230HP 3.0L I6. The convertible will also be available with the 300HP version of that I6, just not until later in 2008. Though these photos are of a 125i Euro-spec version, the convertible looks promising.

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Instead of a retractable hard top, the less expensive and smaller 1-Series gets a softtop, which BMW says drops in a mere 22 seconds. Even better, the 1-Series will be available with BMW’s convertible-specific climate control system (which factors exterior temperature and sunlight in deciding fan speed) and the Sun Reflective Technology that helps keeps seating cooler. (We had the chance to experience a 3-Series convertible with the feature followed by a week in the Z4 without the feature; the difference was impressive.) iDrive and navigation will be available on the 1-Series, but not a power wind deflector.
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Personal Note
All in all, 2008 is shaping up to be a good year to buy a BMW. For me, the hot spots are the M3 sedan and 135i coupe; actually, that coupe is probably the vehicle I’m looking forward to most next year. It’s small and light, should be nimble and relatively fuel efficient. I like small cars, and this one on paper seems perfectly sized for our two-person household. But the M3 sedan has its own draw. I can go for the practicality of the four-door over the two-door in the larger M3 package, and the extra 120HP over the 135i should deliver a rush all its own.


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BMW M3 Sedan Returns to BMW Lineup

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2002 Reincarnated, M3 Brings Back a Four-Door
September and October brought plenty of BMW news, all leading up to a hot spring/summer 2008 for BMW dealers. The X6 Concept and X6 ActiveHybrid Concepts shown at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, previewing a vehicle due by the end of next year, and the show was the backdrop for the formal introduction of both the M3 coupe and the new 1-Series coupe. Also in Frankfurt, a 1-Series convertible was confirmed, with initial photos released shortly afterward. If that wasn’t enough, the M3 sedan returns with a worldwide introduction at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. Just to keep you interested, here are the first photos of the M3 sedan. See a following story for photos of the new 1-Series convertible.

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Volvo C30 Design Concept Very Near Production

Volvo’s star at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was the C30 Design Concept. There will only be minor changes between the C30 Design Concept and the 2007 C30 that arrives in Volvo showrooms late in 2006. VehicleVoice (http://www.vehiclevoice.com) and AutoPacific (http://www.autopacific.com) correspondents were on hand for the unveiling of the agressive new small Volvo at Detroit.
A Lifestyle Vehicle for the City
The C30 gives Volvo an entry to compete with the Audi A3 (introduced in 2005 in the USA) and, in Europe, the BMW 1-Series. This small, three-door coupe targets young urbanites, single or couples, but without children. Featuring the floating center console of the S40, the interior is geared for people who rarely have more than one passenger along with them, though there is seating for four. The rear liftgate allows easy access to the cargo area for daily gear, like gym bags and briefcases and laptop computers. The second-row seats fold for those infrequent occasions when C30 owners need to haul something bigger.

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Volvo sees C30 owners as urbanites with active lifestyles. In this case, active does not refer to the outdoor- and adventure-oriented lifestyles usually indicated by the term “active lifestyle.” Volvo instead has developed a vehicle that fits well into an urban active life, for people with hectic lives balancing developing careers and busy social lives. They’re looking for attractive cars with entertaining driving characteristics and terrific stereos, and are not quite so concerned with off-pavement driving, trips to Home Depot and sheets of plywood, car seats, or getting to the mountains in the middle of a blizzard. Given, too, the rising concern with fuel costs and smaller cars allegedly becoming more hip than SUVs, the C30 could be arriving at just the right time.
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