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BMW 120d '04 (GT6)

BMW unveiled the new 1 Series at the 2004 Paris Motor Show, signaling its arrival in the compact-sedan game. The 1 Series would become its new entry-level car, bullying its way into a crowded market that included Volkswagen's Golf. But the new BMW wasn't that small, measuring 166.4 inches from bumper to bumper and 68.9 inches wide. The car's most controversial aspect was its styling, characterized by its somewhat odd proportions.

What separated the 1 Series from the rest of the products in its segment was its drivetrain. When FF (Front-engine, front-drive) was the norm, the 1 series featured rear-wheel drive. This immediately gave the car a more upscale character than its competition. It also helped the car possess sports car-like handling. Also assisting in this department was the fine-tuned suspension system and rock-solid body structure. The rack-and-pinion steering system was arguably the most precise in its segment.

Several engine variations were available, but the popular choice was the 120i's Valvetronic-equipped 2.0-liter DOHC inline-4 used in the E48 318i. It produced 148 BHP and 147.5 lb-ft of torque and came mated to either a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual gearbox. The highest performance 1 Series, the 120d, came equipped with a 2.0-liter turbo diesel that pumped out 161 HP and an asphalt-crinkling 250.9 lb-ft of torque.

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