“The 1 Series offered drivers the unique proposition of a front-engine rear-wheel drive car with the day-to-day benefits of a compact hatchback. This potent combination set it apart from class rivals, providing unmatched driving dynamics, in part thanks to its near 50:50 weight distribution, so typical of BMW," Tom Noble, BMW Australia general manager said.
The 1 Series hatch arrived in Australian showrooms in October 2004 in the guise of the 120i. It was powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder VALVETRONIC engine, producing 147 horsepower. In the first quarter of 2005, BMW broadened the range with the arrival of the 118i and 116i, both priced below $40,000.
The convertible version of the 1 Series, the first premium compact drop top from the German manufacturer in 30 years, arrived Down Under in May 2008, bringing with it engines that ranged from the 2.0l 120i to the 135i twin turbo.
Out of the 10,000 buyers of a 1 Series, more than 60 percent of them were new to the BMW brand. “With power directed to the rear wheels allowing optimum grip to be maintained and the front wheels left to steer, the result was best in class driving and a BMW that attracted a new set of buyers for the brand,” added Noble.
As we said, it took the manufacturer four years and then some to sell 10,000. Still, this event remains a reason for celebration, as the expanding, relentless crisis could prevent the company to open another bottle of champagne for some time to come. Last month, BMW reported a drop of 24.4 percent in its global sales, compared to February 2008.