BMW 125i SE Convertible

BMW 125i SE Convertible

It seems crazy that as summer arrives, there has been little mention of convertibles. Unfortunately manufacutrers this year has been rather reluctant to launch any. Perhaps the weather was so appalling last year they decided to not too bother. Sad really as convertibles are so utterly cool and we Brits have a love affair with them.

Only a sprinkling has dared showed their faces to date. The new Audi A3, previously reported on and a couple of facelifts to the Mitsubishi Colt and Volvo C70.

However BMW have braved the weather and launched their convertible onto the highly acclaimed BMW 1 series. Now I have to admit not being a huge fan of BMW mainly due to the appalling driver antics I witness on a regular basis by the said BMW drivers. All this was about to change after driving the BMW 125i Convertible around for a glorious week where the sun did actually shine and I felt the exhilaration of open top motoring that is unbeatable.

It has been thirty years since BMW offered us a soft-top convertible. Most manufacturers are sticking to the hardtop but BMW along with Audi decided to go back in time. I do believe Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes has had a profound effect on the designers.

The benefits of a soft top are twofold. Firstly every other driver instantly recognises the car to be such and secondly, there is more room in the luggage area. The downside is those dreadful green-eyed monsters that take out their jealousy by cowardly slashing the roof. However, the materials used are made of tougher stuff these days so damage is limited.

The BMW 1 series convertible is the baby of the BMW family yet inherits many of its sibling characteristics. Three trims are available, ES, SE and M Sport mated to either two petrol engines or one diesel. Further engines are in the pipeline. My test car was the 125i SE six-cylinder petrol engine that certainly blew away any cobwebs sprinting to 62mph in just 6.8 seconds and having a top speed of 148 mph. What surprised and impressed me were the fuel consumption figures showing 34.9 mpg on a combined cycle. CO2 emissions are pretty good considering, falling in al 195g/km, as was the price tag of £26,205.

So what do you get for your money? Well firstly and most importantly, a stunning looking car that not only caused my neighbours lockjaw, but also turned more heads than a nodding dog. Do not be fooled into thinking the baby is small. The BMW 125i has beautiful proportions on par with its siblings most noticeably the trademark double headlamp unit and large kidney grille that dominate the front end. Body coloured bumpers, door mirrors (electrically adjustable and heated) door handles and roof roll gutters kicks starts this wow factors followed by the exhaust tailgate and 16 inch alloy wheels. The rear is similar to the Coupe variant in the way the boot lid finishes and brings on the next wow factor.

The soft top sits in the perfect position and by pressing one button will open automatically in 22 seconds. It can be operated on the go, up to speeds of 31 mph that is perfect for our ever-changing weather or as you approach the car by using a special button on the remote key fob. I tell you that caused a stir in the supermarket car park as I watched the faces of bemused shoppers when I remotely opened the roof! Talking go which, this is neatly stowed below a metal body coloured tonneau panel meaning the elegance of the rear is maintained at all times.

Inside is a host of equipment including indicators! No excuse for not using them. Air conditioning should keep everyone cool and calm, as you listen to your favourite tunes via the CD radio with MP3 connectivity. Both front seats are manually adjustable as is the multi functional steering wheel while the two rear seats have ISOFIX mountings. BMW decide to keep this convertible to a traditional four seater thus giving the children more room in the rear that in turn should stop them kicking each other. All windows are electrically operated with an anti trap facility.

I could write a novel about all the technology that is to be found under the bonnet of the 125i. However I will stick to a synopsis for fear of turning into a true petrol head and the sanity of my readers. The upshot is the BMW 125i produces an unbelievably fantastic yet comfortable ride and handling. I found myself chucking this car in and out of bends with precise steering at the same time feeling so safe. It did dawn on me if this is the reason BMW drivers drive like they do knowing they have power and reassurance at the same time. Yet the 125i stuck to the tarmac like my children’s chewing gum to my carpets. The cleaning bill came off they pocket money so I doubt they will be doing that again.

The six speed manual gearbox features BMW’s Auto Start Stop as standard that when in traffic if you select neutral the engine automatically cuts off thus eliminating emissions and fuel consumption. As soon as you pop back into first gear to pull away, the engine fires back into life. If you are worried about this, then there is a button to deactivate it but think of the pennies saved could buy you those stylish fluffy dice.

Of course safety is paramount and this 125i comes with six airbags, deformation zones at the front rear and on the door while the advanced Dynamic Stability Control that features Dynamic Traction control on the 125i includes Hill Start Assistance, Securing the BMW 125i SE s remote central locking and a Thatcham category one alarm.

Impressed? I was bowled over. Another BMW convert.

Jackie Violet Female First

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