BMW is anticipating to construct on the earlier 1 Series’ gross sales momentum in Australia, regardless of the newest F40 era’s change to an all-new front-drive-based platform, a leap in worth and, for the time being, the shortage of a mid-range variant.
According to BMW Group Australia chief government Vikram Pawah, the richer specification of the third-generation 1 Series – which was beforehand constructed on a rear-drive platform – is what consumers in the premium small-car phase need, with excessive ranges of kit and know-how justifying the firm’s choice to cost the 118i entry mannequin some $3000 above its F20 predecessor.
“For us, the goal for this yr was pretty easy,” stated Mr Pawah.
“We’re going to give attention to our progress and we’ll ship progress, and I feel that’s what we’re doing.”
To the top of November, BMW is among the few quantity gamers to extend its gross sales (up Zero.9 per cent to 21,741 models) and market share (now 2.2 per cent) in 2019, and has even managed to outsell Ford, Subaru and Suzuki in passenger automobiles, in addition to Mercedes-Benz in SUVs.
“Our intention for next year is going to be clearly that as well, that we’ll continue growing,” Mr Pawah stated.
“(We’re within the strategy of) the most important product offensive in BMW’s historical past, which is constant going ahead.
“So the aim with every product that we launch, we recreate the benchmark in that segment… redefine it, own it.”
As GoAuto reported in September, BMW has targeted on enhancing the value-for-money equation of its merchandise for a while now, and the F40 1 Series continues the development.
The base 118i positive factors a number of options beforehand reserved for a lot higher-range fashions, together with 18-inch alloy wheels, ambient cabin lighting, a head-up show, wi-fi telephone charging and wi-fi Apple CarPlay – at present free for the primary yr, then $479 for 3 years’ subscription, though that is more likely to change within the new yr.
But it’s the usual Reversing Assistant, a function that debuted on 7 Series not too way back, that underlines how far BMW’s gear recreation has moved on.
Reversing Assistant memorises the final 50 metres of steering enter (for as much as 72 hours) once you’re driving at lower than 37km/h earlier than parking.
Then after urgent the button earlier than reversing, it removes the steering guesswork for the driving force and traces the identical arc as you exit.
Mr Pawah emphasised that the corporate’s efforts in enhancing buyer satisfaction would additionally increase the 1 Series’ purchaser attraction, not simply the excessive listing of ordinary options.
“Part of our strategy is introducing customer-centric programs, starting with simple things like charging no fees for our finance, changing the finance game, or coming up with a really attainable price for the 1 Series,” he stated.
BMW’s third-generation 1 Series begins its profession with simply two fashions: the front-drive 118i from $42,990 and an all-wheel-drive M135i xDrive from $63,990, with on-road prices additional on each.
The 118i is once more powered by a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine, now producing 103kW of energy (+3kW) and 220Nm of torque (unchanged) and driving by means of a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission.
It sprints from standstill to 100km/h in eight.5 seconds, and delivers gasoline financial system of 5.9L/100km on the official mixed cycle. CO2 emissions are set at 135g/km.
The M135i has a 2.Zero-litre turbo-petrol unit that punches out 225kW/450Nm – down 25kW/50Nm over the previous M140i.
Using an eight-speed torque-converter auto transmission, triple digits come up in Four.8s (+Zero.2s) whereas mileage/emissions stand at 7.5L/100km and 171g/km respectively.
In line with what it says displays buyer preferences, BMW Australia has chosen to forego the Sport Line and Urban Line iterations of the earlier F20 1 Series in favour of a normal M Sport styling and gear package deal even on the entry-level 118i.
Product and pricing supervisor for BMW 1-Four Series and future mobility, Prabs Datar, stated the reasoning behind that call is straightforward: “One a part of it was that the take-up fee (for M Sport) was actually excessive – not simply on 1 Series however throughout all fashions – and from a seems to be perspective, it simply made sense (as a result of it’s) probably the most aesthetically pleasing of the road choices obtainable.
“When we had Urban Line, Sport Line and all those in the previous generation, it made things a bit too confusing for an entry-level car. We just don’t seethe requirement for it.”
Mr Datar confirmed that gross sales have been cut up evenly between 118i, 125i, and M140i within the earlier F20 1 Series mannequin line-up, leaving the door open for a mid-range variant to hitch the new F40 118i and M135i down the monitor.
“There can be a mid-point mannequin sooner or later as properly, nevertheless it’s a bit too early to offer any particulars… it hasn’t been introduced internationally.
“(So) it’s a bookend in the mean time as a part of launch,” he stated.
There will probably be an optionally available M Performance package deal for the M135i xDrive, which BMW expects to be a hit with Australian consumers.
The $1900 package deal consists of light-weight 18-inch M cast alloy wheels (one-inch smaller than the common M135i’s, however painted black for differentiation), a high-gloss black grille and a bunch of different high-gloss black styling particulars.
Crucially, the M Performance package deal doesn’t embrace adaptive dampers, which can stay a separate $400 choice.
“We anticipate a 50 per cent take-up rate for the M Performance package,” Mr Datar stated.
“It wasn’t available from launch, it was made available from November production, so we’ll probably get them around mid-to-late February.”
Mr Datar dominated out any F40 diesel variants for Australia.
“We’ve decided not to bring in the 118d. We don’t see much of a demand for it in the passenger car segment,” he stated.
But he stays optimistic a few plug-in hybrid model of the F40 1 Series becoming a member of BMW Australia’s rising PHEV household (330e, 530e, 745e, X5 xDrive45e).
“The platform (UKL2+) can take it so possibly, yes,” he stated.
“At this stage we haven’t been given any recommendation on timing or something to do with what powertrain it’d include however I see it as a risk.
“And clearly it’s a part of the platform design itself, which is unbelievable, and also you’ll see that with all of the platforms shifting ahead that they’re designed to have that functionality.”
While the timing of a plug-in hybrid variant is but to be decided, anticipate the mid-range 1 Series mannequin – more likely to be badged 125i like its predecessor, utilizing a detuned model of the M135i’s 2.Zero-litre turbo-petrol 4 – to be introduced throughout 2020.
And there may even be a reprisal of guide transmission availability, albeit in a really restricted quantity.
“At this stage we’re not settled on what that (the mid-series) engine is,” stated Mr Datar.
“We don’t have any particulars that we will work on (however a guide) be one thing we’d think about.
“A guide transmission is one thing that clients in Australia like having… I utterly agree that there’s that buyer that desires a guide automotive.“
“M2 Competition, for instance, which might be the strongest automotive within the model in the intervening time that has a very excessive take-up on guide… 50 per cent.”
Despite the now-superseded F20 1 Series being proper on the finish of its eight-year lifespan, Australian gross sales in 2019 have remained regular.
Up to the top of November, the F20 1 Series has achieved 2085 gross sales – a 12 per cent drop in contrast to the identical level final yr.
This locations the 1 Series third in its class behind the new-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class (4233 gross sales) and Audi A3 (3028 gross sales).