BMW 1 Series 120i Cabriolet Review
Roof above the head

Story & pictures by Azfar Hashim
27 Sep 2008

Having a bad day? Driving the 120i could change all that ya' know...

The open 1

Thunder boomed and lightning filled the sky. Oh all right then, I’m exaggerating a wee bit. But not that much though - because it only chucked down one quarter of the time I had my week with BMW’s new $158,800 120i Convertible.

Still, it was a useful insight into what it would be like to own a convertible in all weathers, not just when the sun is up in the sky brightly. But then again with this unpredictable weather, the consolation is that when the rain cloud disappears, it just shows how much of a sensation it is to drive around topless. Err…as in with the roof down, and not the other topless sort.

Bearing all that in mind, the 120i gets off to a reasonable start.

It being the most expensive in the whole 1 Series range, the 120i comes with digital air-con and electric seats, but sans the paddle-shifters and the M-Sport suspension system we saw in the 130i and 125i we test drove previously - unfortunately.

Apparently, paddle-shifters will initiate some sort of “enthusiastic driving styles”, so in a bid to make the 120i a real cruiser instead of an outright bruiser, BMW decided to strip those goodie bits.

You see, BMW wants the 1 Series to cater to a variety of drivers. The “entry-level” 118i 5-door hatch for those wanting an affordable Beemer, the 125i Coupe for those who want a reasonably-sized coupe with much design pizzazz, and the 130i 3-door hatch for boyracers with deep pockets. Whereas the 120i Cabriolet, well, are for those wanting a cabriolet that’s not oversized.

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Engine Capacity 1995cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Bore x Stroke (90.0 x 84.0)mm
Power 156bhp @ 6700rpm
Torque 200Nm @ 4250rpm
Power to Weight 103.7 bhp per ton


Acceleration 8.4s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 220 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.7 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FR


Body Type Cabriolet
(L x W x H)
(4360 x 1748 x 1411) mm
Wheelbase 2660 mm
Kerb Weight 1505 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 53 L