BF Garage: Sizing Matters

About a month ago we added an F20 120d to the list of cars that we have owned. One of the main reasons for getting it was simply its something we could have never experienced in the US and we liked just about everything about it. Many that have never seen the newer 1 series hatch think its ugly, or at least the headlights are. Personally, I prefer it many times more than the droopy side sills of the previous generation. Truth be told, I tend to pick cars with looks being one of the last concerns and that may be obvious since I like hatches and sport wagons.

Like every other BMW model currently to market, the 1 Series has moved up in terms of size, content and of course cost. This move was needed to fill the void of where the 3 series once was and to make room for the upcoming front wheel drive model. What has happened with the 1 Series growing in size, content and comfort is that it could possibly replace the 3 series within the next generation or so as the sales leader. A name is only a name and what really matters is the character and sizing of the vehicle when buyers actually get behind the wheel. BMW must feel the same way as they have moved the 3 coupe to the 4 series.

We ‘ve said for years that the 5 series has grown too much, and while the 3er is getting a bit too big to feel intimate it has not gotten big at the same rate as the 5, meaning it still has some resemblance of the size it once was. The new 1 is almost perfect from a intimacy and comfort level for size. Without looking at the dimensions, it “feels ” the size of an E46 with a bit more room in the back, or maybe it its the angles of everything but it all just feels the way it should. If the rumors come to fruition and the board will green light a 1 series sedan for the US, it would be a huge success with enthusiasts as the size is right and with those that feel the 3er has moved into the stratosphere price wise.

What the size also impacts is the road feel. We ‘ve noted the Electric Power Steering to have its moments of being dumb and numb but with the smaller tighter package in the F20 other body parts can assist in the feel department. As they say proof is in the pudding and it has been snowing here in Bavaria for the better part of ten days and the roads in many areas have been slippery and a wintry mess but with snow tires the 1 has had no problems and the steering wheel easily gets the message across that the wheels are about to let loose allowing me to make corrections on the fly.It ‘s just fine (granted we have the optional sport steering with servo tronic) and like I have noted before, the feel is there when it is needed and annoying road noise is not; I ‘m used to it and as someone who likes to complain I ‘m not. Who can complain with something sporty, tossable and efficient? Oh and it is getting mid 40s to mid 50s in fuel economy depending on my foot- with a max range of 625 miles thus far.

We have plans to add another F20 this spring to the BF Garage as we are truly pleased with it, the size works for us as a small family and it has everything we want and then some and those in the states will love the 2 series coupe in much of the same way but let ‘s hope the sedan comes along as that is the car that would meet the needs of most and it may be like Goldilocks said- “just right “.

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  • les

    I feel the same way about the E46. I have always thought it was the perfect size, but riding the back of one makes you think differently. It would be nice to see a 1 series sedan in the US, as long as the price is right. Diesel or not, it would fit in BMW’s line up well.

  • rick

    i’ve seen the f20 in europe, and i have to say it looks better in person. the unique headlights aren’t ugly at all. on the contrary they actually make the car stand out from the sameness of the other bmws (i don’t know how many times i get the new 3 and 5 confused)

  • Johnparke

    Annoying roadnoise? Mmmkay.

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      Depending on where you are from and the road conditions there is a constant “hum” through the wheel- with my M3 and the beat up metro NYC concrete highways this was quite apparent. There is good feel and bad feel, just like when you are listening to music you don’t want a “hum” I don’t like that when I am driving- I want my hands to feel what matters not the background noise. To each there own, but there is research on driving feel and what most people think is feel has no value. I am not saying I like the GTR which has zero feel (before rev 3) and the F20 is not that. I just hit a patch of black ice a few hours ago and it was well informed.

      • Adam

        It’s alright Michael, come drive on the roads where me and Gabe live, right now a major suburban highway is down to two lanes while widening takes place and the sections remaining are patched beyond belief, the steering wheel just about jumps out of my hands over some of these bumps, plus I feel every pebble and nail the construction guys have left behind (now that’s feel) and the speed bumps they created… well safe to say I crawl over them.

  • p912guy

    As the current owner of a MINI Cooper S hatch, I would really love to see BMW bring all versions of the new 1 Series to the US. I’d be most interested in the 135 1M 3 door coupe and least interested in the 4 door sedan.

  • Please bring the 4 door hatch-back, that will be my replacement for my Mini Clubman.