Engineers from BMW and its supplier companies have worked together to develop the marque’s first compact class automobile – the BMW 1 Series. The vehicle is aimed at the premium segment of the compact class market, which researchers see as the area with large potential worldwide. It was designed as a class leader in many critical areas.
According to Chris Bangle, chief of design in the development division of BMW, the 1 Series is based on a new platform that allows engineers to vary the position of the bulkhead and the windscreen pillars. So in time there could be coupé, saloon, estate and maybe even roadster derivatives. Six-cylinder versions are coming, but “not in the near future,” says BMW. On offer at present is a five-door hatchback (to be followed by a three-door) that went on sale in October starting at £15,600 for the entry-level 16-litre model.
Suppliers were closely involved in the development of the architecture, which will also enable dealer-delivered software upgrades. The 1 series is built in Regensburg, Germany. BMW expects to sell around 150,000 units annually. The car will compete against entry-premium models such as the Mercedes A class and the Audi A3 as well as lower-medium cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.
The BMW 1 Series comes with a wide range of innovations in technology so far quite unprecedented in this class. These include runflat tyres together with a tyre defect indicator, two-stage brake lights, as well as ongoing display of the remaining mileage of parts subject of to wear and tear all coming as standard, the trendsetting iDrive control concept, sport seats with pneumatic backrest width adjustment, keyless comfort access, a Bluetooth interface for a mobile phone complete with hands –off operation and control from the multifunction steering wheel, illumination of the area around the car integrated in the door handles, a personal audio and air control memory settings, as well as the seat and mirror positions for each user in his or her key to the car.
There is a choice of four four-cylinder engines: two British-made Valvetronic petrol units, a 115bhp 16-litre and a 150bhp 2-litre, and an Austrian-made 2-litre turbodiesel with two different outputs, 122bhp and 163bhp. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on the 16-litre, a six-speed manual on all the rest, with the option of a six-speed automatic to come.
By tradition, BMW has always seen rear-wheel drive as the key to thrilling driving dynamics, excellent traction, and safe handling. Project engineer Dr Wilhelm Becker says rear wheel drive gives about 10% less space… but better handling.” In the BMW 1 Series, the Bavarian company says it has produced a particularly light and compact car boasting extremely short body overhangs, a wide track, and longest wheelbase in its class (2.66 meters). And at 0.29, finally, the BMW 1 Series’ drag coefficient also marks a new record in the compact range, according to BMW.
Intelligent systems for extra safety
Particularly strong and resistant steel components and panels give the body of the BMW 1 Series exceptional stiffness all around. Forces generated in a collision are absorbed by programmed deformation of the body provided by a system of longitudinal arms and crossbars. This largely protects the passenger cell from deformation and minimizes forces and loads acting on the passengers. The airbag systems as well as the belt latch tensioners and belt force limiters at the front are activated and controlled by the latest control and management technology. Individual, on-demand control ensures that only those safety units are activated which are actually required. The seat occupancy detector, for example, registers whether somebody is sitting on the front passenger’s seat. If this is not the case, the frontal and side airbags on that seat are not activated, helping to save a lot of money in the event of repair.
Active safety: preventing accidents right from the start.
DSC Dynamic Stability Control helps to keep the car on course in a difficult situation, for example when steering out of the way of an obstacle suddenly looming up ahead. Acting as required on the various wheels of the car, DSC prevents the car from swerving out of control DBC Dynamic Brake Control as well as CBC Cornering Brake Control preventing the car from oversteering in a bend, plus EBF Electronic Brake Force Distribution automatically adjusting to vehicle load, are further functions of the DSC and ABS driving stability systems.
Optional iDrive and voice entry.
iDrive is included in the car’s range of equipment whenever the customer opts for a navigation system. By simply pressing, turning and pushing the Controller in the centre console, all secondary and comfort functions as well as vehicle settings can be initialized or controlled individually as required.
With the engine of the 1 Series being fitted lengthwise, the pedals come right in front of the driver’s seat and do not have to be moved out of their ideal position slightly to right, as is otherwise the case in cars with the engine fitted crosswise.
Comfort access enables the driver to start his BMW 1 Series without even taking the key to the car out of his or her pocket: As soon as driver walks up to the car, the key transmits a recognition and access signal, the doors automatically unlocking when the driver pulls the door handle. Once inside the car, all the driver then has to do is press the starter button to start the engine.
Permanent surveillance of the battery charge helps to maintain the BMW 1 Series’ high standard of reliability: as soon as the charge sensor in the control unit recognizes a decrease in capacity, the power fed to power – consuming items serving only to provide a comfort function is reduced accordingly. This maintains the battery capacity required for starting the car at all times.
The new 1 series represents an unusually high level of modular outsourcing for BMW — French partsmaker Faurecia supplies the complete front-end module, while German supplier ThyssenKrupp delivers the front and rear axle assemblies.
Grupo Antolin provides the 1 series’ headliner. It is the Spanish supplier’s first modular delivery for BMW. The Munich-based automaker’s continuing sales success has put pressure on its European capacity and has encouraged BMW to consider more outsourcing.
The 1 series is the first BMW to be equipped with the BMW group’s new scaleable electronic architecture. “This net board is very flexible — for small cars or bigger cars,” says Wilhelm Becker, BMW’s senior vice president in charge of the company’s small cars.
BMW plans to use the electronic architecture in the 3 series next and in the new generation of the X5 SUV.
Suppliers were closely involved in the development of the architecture, which will also enable dealer-delivered software upgrades. The 1 series, BMW’s first car in the entry-premium segment, is built in Regensburg, Germany. BMW expects to sell around 150,000 units annually. The car will compete against entry-premium models such as the Mercedes A class and the Audi A3 as well as lower-medium cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus.
Common-rail diesel – Bosch
Manual transmission – Getrag
Automatic transmission – ZF Friedrichshafen
Display units – Siemens VDO
Centre console controls – Kostal
Oil filter – Mahle
Cooling module – Mondine
Tyres – Bridgestone, Pirelli
Navigation – Harmann/Becker
Interior cinematics – Fischer
Window lift – Brose
Sun Roof – Webasto
Hinges – Edscha
Headliner textile – Guilford Europe
Headliner – Grupo Antolin
Antennae – Delphi, Hirschmann
Brake lines – Continental, Freudenberg, TI Automotive
High-mounted brake light – Hella
Fuel supply units – Siemens VDO
Rear Bumper – Peguform
Parkpilot system – Bosch
Rear axle assembly – Thyssenkrupp
Stabilizer and shock absorbers – ZF
Brake calipers/Brake master cylinders – Continental
B-Pillar stampings – Thyssenkrupp
NVH insulation – HP Pelzer
Underbody stamping – Tower
Glass – Pilkington
Steering system – TRW
Connectors – Hirschmann Austria
Driver airbag – Takata/Petri
Fuel tank – Inergy
Wiring – Draxlmaier
Gaskets – Federal Mogul
Battery – Varta
Front lights – Valeo
Front axle frame – Hydro Aluminium
Front axle assembly – Thyssenkrupp
Heatshields – Rieter