The Dark SideText and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis & Ciaran Feeney
With the state of the art technology, powerful engine and elegant design the BMW 1 series is a perfect urban car.
The word diesel should never be used in a conversation with a car enthusiast, it would offend them. For years diesels were smelly, dirty odd things ruining the ozone layer; no petrol-head wanted to be associated with one. They were slow, sounded like a train and smoked like one. Things have changed in the last decade though; with faster and more economical diesels in production many have joined the dark side.
With the petrol price rising each year and virtually matching the gold, car manufacturers recognized that diesels and hybrids will soon surpass; so cleaner, quieter and faster diesels were being produced.
Paul is passionate about cars and has owned many nice sports cars in the past, including a Honda Integra DC5; however, to ease the ever increasing cost of a car ownership it was time to change. Paul bought a 1 series diesel to reduce the cost of the daily commute and make the life in the city more bearable as we all know that sports cars in a city are rubbish. The never ending traffic combined with a heavy clutch is hell, the speedbumps become one’s worst nightmare and there are no back roads to play on, so an urban car makes so much more sense.
Soon after the change Paul realised the smaller engine was just not enough, so the BMW 118 was replaced with the 2.3 version. The 1 series 2.3 diesel engine produces a very respectable 204PS and 400Nm. The small hatchback can accelerate from 0-60mph in 7seconds and goes up to 148mph, more than you’ll need for the traffic light battle with the bus driver.
Paul's car is an exercise in minimalist mods which add to the original styling of the car rather than completely changing its looks. The AC Schnitzer front bumper and rear carbon spoiler give a subtle update to the looks of the car while the "angel eyes" are nearly a must have for any BMW! The combination of add-on's to the Chris Bangle designed one series certainly gives it more of an edge, and makes it look right at home in its urban setting.
One thing is for certain, his car is minded like a baby, and probably minded a lot better than owners of more expensive metal! Plus, you can never go wrong with a BMW interior! Since the stock interior is perfect for the daily commute or for scenic weekend drives, Paul didn't feel the need to fix something that wasn't already broken.
Personally it took me a while to like 1 series (with the exception being the 1M of course!!). Like much of Chris Bangles designs, the cars age well, and I think I'm starting to finally warm to the 1 series hatch.
The BMW 1 series is the smallest model in the BMW production that makes it an ideal urban warrior to navigate the streets of Belfast with plenty of power to spare but without the hassle of the sports car.