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Old 11-13-2011, 02:53 AM
Andrew*Debbie's Avatar
Andrew*Debbie Andrew*Debbie is offline
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I drove the new F20 1-Series

We stopped in at a BMW dealer in England and test-drove a new F20 116i 5-door hatchback.

I've driven US-spec 128i and 135i coupes. The F20 is a completely different car.


UK BMWs are sold by power train and base trim package. At launch the F20 comes as a 116i, 118i, 118d and 120d 5-door hatch. The standard UK trim packages are ES, SE, and M-Sport. The F20 adds two new trims, Sport and Urban.

Unlike US cars, base options don't change with power train. For example, a 116i SE and a 118i SE are the same except for power output and the speed rating on the tires.

To build a UK BMW, you first pick the power train and base trim. To that you can add equipment packages and choose from a huge number of a la carte options. On most BMWs the packages are discounts on groups of common al a carte options. On most UK BMWs you get considerable flexibility on options. The F20 is annoyingly different as some common options are only available as part of a package.

Production of the old e81 3 door hatch has stopped. The dealer we visited had 'punched' their remaining new e81s and was selling them as 'plated' cars in the used side of the store. A 3 door hatch based on the F20 is due to start production in March.

The Coupe and Convertible sold in the US are still in production.

The dealer had 3 F20s on the lot. All 116i's, one SE, one Urban and one Sport. Unusual for a mid-size UK dealer. One of each is more common. Makes sense though as SE is the trim most people buy and Sport and Urban are new.

Along with the F20, we looked at an e81 118i SE, an e87 118d SE and an e90 318i.

First Impressions

The F20 is a larger and better looking car than the e87. From the side the extra length avoids the pinched off look the of the e87. From the front, the car looks like a modern BMW and nothing like an Aztec as was suggested in another thread. The extra length does not make the car look like a wagon either.

The interior on the F20 is more modern looking than the e90. The e81/e87 look dated. The F20 has more room inside. The rear seat is actually comfortable. BMW has done a TARDIS. "It's bigger on the inside than the outside." The front feels larger too, at least it did until I drove the car.

Stay tuned. More after we get back from walking the dogs.

Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 11-16-2011 at 08:57 AM. Reason: Fix typo
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