A five-door hatchback from BMW might just be what the doctor ordered in this transitional era for the automotive industry. Sure, power-mobiles like the BMW 7 Series are great for those who can afford them — and the gas that’s needed to keep them moving down the highway (usually at high speeds). But the era of the small car seems to be upon us, which is why buzz is building for the BMW 1 Series.
You probably haven’t heard much about the 1 Series, unless you’re a total car geek. But it’s worth talking about. Introduced in 2004, the BMW 1 series is a compact, five-door hatchback model powered by a variety of fuel-efficient gas and diesel four- and six-cylinder engines, from a 115-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder to a 255-horsepower six-cylinder borrowed from the 3 and 5 Series.
The cars are equipped with a number of technologies that help ensure fuel-efficiency, like piezo injectors that fire as many as 2,000 times a minute with small amounts of gas, an Auto Stop function that shuts off the engine when it’s idling to conserve fuel, and regenerative braking, which generates electricity to operate various systems and helps to lower fuel consumption.
Like all BMWs, the 1 Series also comes with its share of high-tech features, like Active Steering, which adjusts the steering ratio depending on the car’s speed to improve cornering and agility, and Dynamic Stability Control, which automatically reduces power and applies measured braking pressure to prevent skidding in an emergency situation.
At the 2007 Geneva Auto Show, BMW showed off revised exterior styling for the 1 Series that improves aerodynamics. The automaker also introduced a new three-door hatchback model, which has BMW watchers buzzing.
So is the 1 Series coming to America? Currently it’s sold in the U.K. and Australia, and plans call for the car to be introduced to Europe this year. There have been rumors about a U.S. introduction for some time, but according to a number of automotive sources, both in the U.S. and Europe, the deal is done for the 1 Series to make its bow in U.S. showrooms next year. If the rumors are true, the 1 Series will be a welcome addition to BMW’s lineup in America.