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Will The BMW 1 Series Be A Future Classic?

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Will The BMW 1 Series Be A Future Classic?

BMWs have a knack for becoming classics, but only when the models are extraordinary. Cars like the 1M and all M-series cars (M3, M5, etc.) are timeless in appeal, with ‘future classic’ written all over them at launch.

The 1 Series is a tougher sell as an instant classic, not because it’s a bad car, but because there were few special and limited models.

A short history of the 1 Series 

The BMW 1 Series was first released in 2004 as the E81 (three-door) and E87 (five-door), as a direct competitor to the Volkswagen Golf.

With rear-wheel drive and a six-cylinder engine available from launch, it quickly became the performance car of choice for frugal drivers.

The successor to the 2004-2013 E series was the F series, as the F21 (three-door) and F20 (five-door). Again, this model had rear-wheel drive and the option of a six-cylinder engine in the M135i, later known as the M140i.

2015 saw a facelift, with new BMW 1 Series bumpers & headlights, revised engines, and newer driver assistance systems to meet safety standards.

These two generations shared a popular format – a rear-wheel-drive, front-engine layout with no mechanical limited-slip differential. The result was a playful hatchback with a lot more character than a Volkswagen Golf.

Then it changed. BMW ditched rear-wheel-drive for front-wheel-drive in 2019 with the F40, an all-new model that unlocked more boot space.

Models with future classic status 

The BMW 1 Series has future classic potential, although only versions with bigger engines are likely to achieve it.

E87/E81 – cars with the 3.0 inline-6 are highly prized

The first version of the 1 Series, the E87 and E81, had special engines in the 3.0L N52 I6 (125i, 128i, 130i) and 3.0L N54/N55 I6 turbo (135i, 135is).

These incline-6 engines are highly sought after.

However, the most legendary model is the 1M Coupe, with its 3.0 N54 engine. That model is already a classic with appreciating value.

F21/F20 – the M135i and M140i have potential 

Moving onto the second-generation 1 Series, the F21 (three-door) and F20 (five-door), the only special versions are the M135i and M140i.

Again, these models have a 3.0L inline-6 turbo engine. The M140i has a modified, better version of the engine known as the B58, which produces more power and torque than the M135i’s N55 engine (although both have the same block).

F40 – this model is unlikely ever to be a classic 

Moving onto the newest 1 Series, the F40, this is unlikely to be a future classic because it has a few things against it.

The first is BMW ditched rear-wheel drive for front-wheel drive, and they also ditched rear-wheel drive for all-wheel drive (xDrive) in the M135i.

Additionally, the M135i has a 2.0L turbocharged engine, and there is no option for the 3.0L inline-6 engine that is synonymous with the 1 Series.

The new 1 Series is not true to its predecessors from a purist’s perspective. Instead, it is a car drawn up in the boardroom rather than by real drivers.

It’s a solid car but not one to excite future classic car dealers.

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