The E88 first generation BMW 1-Series Convertible marked a return to smaller BMW convertibles as the 3 and 4 Series gets ever larger. Unlike its bigger brother, it has a fabric folding roof which maximises the luggage space and gives the car attractive proportions. Quality, equipment and performance are as you would expect from BMW. The original two engine options for the launch model have increased to included a base model 118 and range-topping 135, while a diesel option, 120i and 125i joined later. The 135 promises M-Sport-like performance with a 0-62mph time of just 5.6 seconds.
BMW 118i Convertible has enough power to make for an enjoyable drive without getting you into mischief or costing you the earth in fuel. While it doesn't sound as good as the 6 cylinder options it is smooth, quiet and a pleasure to drive if not all that exciting.
The BMW 125i Convertible is unsurprisingly a popular choice. The upgrade to the 3 litre 6-cylinder engine over the 120i's four-pot adds a great soundtrack and plenty of silky smooth power. It may be a little more thirsty but BMWs Efficient Dynamics system keeps economy under control.
The BMW 135i Convertible is an impressive performer unmatched in the compact convertible car market. The twin turbo 3 litre inline-six provides smooth power and the competent chassis deals with it admirably. It is well balanced and is more fun to drive than some convertibles that cost twice the price.
The BMW 118d Convertible is the most efficient drop-top in the 1-Series range with an impressive fuel economy figure close to 59mpg. It is great for soaking up the miles and while it isn't a sports model it remains enjoyable to drive thanks to the stiff, well-balanced chassis.
Combining punchy performance with great economy, the BMW 120d Convertible is a great choice. The 2-litre turbo diesel engine is refined, with a good spread of power throughout the rev range. Enthusiastic drivers may also want to consider the more powerful 123d.
BMW 1-Series 120d Convertible Specifications
6-spd manual / 6-spd auto
UK retail price
UK insurance group
BMW 1-Series 120d Convertible Performance
Max speed (manual)
138 mph / 222 kph
Max speed (auto)
137 mph / 220 kph
BMW 1-Series 120d Convertible Economy and Emissions
The twin-turbo 2 litre BMW 123d Convertible is the clever choice in the range. Combining serious performance with forgiving economy, it is hard to fault. It pulls well from low in the rev range and doesn't have the clattering soundtrack often associated this diesel engines. While it isn't a match in performance for the 135i it is a far more economical car to use every day.