Micropost: Entropy Increases

Such decrepitude on a fairly new car: such things one more commonly associates with the mundane marques.

Decaying BMW 1-series

This is a BMW 1-series. It’s the E-81 (etc) from 2004. 

2004-2013 BMW 1-series.

Very much built to a price, the cost-cutting shows in details like the perishing window rubber. As BMW has lowered itself into the cheaper end of the price spectrum such things can only be inevitable. Next I’ll try to find a Mercedes similarly afflicted.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

9 thoughts on “Micropost: Entropy Increases”

  1. You’d struggle to find a decade old Merc that isn’t looking as shabby as hell. Go back 15 years and most of them will be as scabby as an old Mini!

    Funnily enough I was wondering just yesterday how the earliest 1 Series was holding up. I don’t recall hearing of major mechanical maladies, beyond the usual BMW timing chain issues on 4 pot petrols.

    1. That curling rubber could be avoided for €5 worth of material. Saab could do it. These cars are the equivalent of a €90 Boss t-shirt. That’s a lot for a t-shirt but a lot cheaper than a Boss suit.

  2. I’m acutely aware this makes me sound like some wannabe-Clarkson, but I can forgive the 1 Series a lot of shortcomings, if it’s equipped with a six cylinder engine under its bonnet (which doesn’t seem to be the case with Zinzino).

    Its cabin’s plastics were almost Porsche 996 nasty, the packaging borderline ridiculous and the cost cutting could almost be smelt. But I liked the 1 series, because it was a genuine alternative to the norm, and that also takes its Anders Warmingesque styling into account.

    In terms of engineering and driving pleasure however, it obviously needed a powerful engine to exploit its chassis’ advantages. Otherwise one was left with an impractical, idiosyncratic automotive device with a rather lovely gear change (I luuurve BMW manual ‘boxes).

    1. Absolutely agree with this. However if, as rumoured, the next 1-series is FWD it will be turbo’d four pots all round and it will have absolutely no USP at all.

    2. Kris, are the Porsche 996’s plastics that bad? Although it may be possible, this is the first time I read such a complaint.

      These E81 window rubbers are really gross. My main issue with this model is its poor packaging, even for a RWD car. The BMW Group reached the pinnacle of bad packaging with the first 1-Series and the MINI, too cramped. They might be sporty, but they were hatchbacks, too.

    3. BMWs weren’t typically bought for their roominess or packaging. Starting with the 02, smallish BMWs were quite cramped in the back. Particularly bad was the E36 where in the back there was nowhere to put one’s feet because the front seats were mounted so low there was no room underneath them. Up to the E36 the Three was called the only four door two seater on the market and today the One fulfils the same role.

      And yes, the quality of the 986/996 plastics is dismal. Rear engined Porsches never were known for particularly inviting interiors, just imagine the 993 with all kinds of switchgear like rockers, push buttons and push-pull switches scattered all over the place. But the 986/996 was even worse because if the customer didn’t invest a fortune to have the surfaces covered in leather everything was uninviting to touch.

    4. Pre-facelift Porsche 996 cabins remain among the silliest, most unpleasant driving environments I’ve ever come across. The plastics were beyond awful, being either Kinder Surprise shiny (the buttons) or rough, with a slight glitter shine (central dashboard & transmission tunnel cladding). In either case they were perceivably hollow, which, of course, any cover would be. But in that Porsche’s case, it was astonishingly obvious.

    5. A friend of mine once bought a 996 Carrera 4S Cabrio for truly big money because of the many extras. He even invested a five digit Euro sum in having every surface of the interior covered in leather, including the tiny bars and sliders in the air vents. The effect was truly nasty because the leather was paper thin and no match in quality to the wonderful Momo leather of the Alfa I had at that time and you never could tap any surface because you got an ugly hollow sound behind all that expensive leather. And it still had those iffy liquorice look switches.

  3. Could the uneven window rubber be the result of a cack-handed window glass replacement? Although 1-ers have been around for thirteen years now, I can’t recall seeing a shamefully tatty one.

    However, taking my E82 as an example, the quality is perceptibly inferior to the 3 series. Thinner plastics, more creaks and rattles, the absence of small items of equipment taken for granted in the 3 series I’ve owned over the last fifteen years. It’s no surprise. The important bits are shared with the 3-er, the 1 is not that much smaller or lighter, so something has to give.

    The upcoming FWD 1 Series can only strengthen the standing of the two preceding generations. They feel like cars worth ‘laying down’ as artefacts of a time that will not come again.

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