Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2008 BMW 1 SERIES VS 2009 Dodge Challenger Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2009 Dodge Challenger

Safety Comparison

The 1 Series has standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), which uses the antilock brake hardware along with powerful software and additional sensors to detect the beginning of a skid. The DSC then intervenes by automatically applying the brake at one appropriate wheel, preventing a skid. A skid prevention system costs extra on the Challenger. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed that skid control systems reduced single-vehicle car crashes by 30%.

The 1 Series offers an optional backup radar to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind their vehicle. This collision warning system uses radar to detect obstacles behind the rear bumper. The Challenger doesn’t offer a rear collision sensor.

The 1 Series offers optional BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Challenger doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the 1 Series and the Challenger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four wheel antilock brakes and traction control.

Warranty Comparison

The 1 Series comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Challenger’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 1 Series comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. BMW will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Dodge doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Challenger.

The 1 Series’ corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Challenger’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 1 Series for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Dodge doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Challenger.

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the 1 Series’ engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The Challenger SE 3.5 SOHC V6’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt which eventually needs to be replaced. If the Challenger’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the 1 Series have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of some of the engines in the Challenger.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2005 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 21st in initial quality. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 30th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics which show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 54 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 24th.

Engine Comparison

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the 1 Series’ engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the Challenger:


128i 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

2750 RPM

135i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

1400 RPM

Challenger SE 3.5 SOHC V6

3800 RPM

Challenger R/T 5.7 V8

4200 RPM

Challenger R/T 5.7 V8

4200 RPM

Challenger SRT-8 6.1 V8

4800 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the 1 Series gets better fuel mileage than the Challenger:

1 Series


6 cyl./Manual

18 city/28 hwy


Turbo 6 cyl./Manual

17 city/25 hwy

15 city/23 hwy

5.7 V8

6 cyl./Auto

19 city/28 hwy

18 city/25 hwy


Turbo 6 cyl./Auto

18 city/26 hwy

16 city/23 hwy

5.7 V8

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The 1 Series’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Challenger SE are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The 128i’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the Challenger SE’s standard 65 series tires. The 135i’s 215/40R18 front and 245/35R18 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Challenger SRT-8’s 45 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 1 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Challenger doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 1 Series’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.3% to 49.7%) than the Challenger’s (53.5% to 46.5%). This gives the 1 Series more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the 1 Series’ turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the Challenger SRT-8’s (35.1 feet vs. 37.5 feet). The 1 Series’ turning circle is 3.8 feet tighter than the Challenger SE/RT’s (35.1 feet vs. 38.9 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW 1 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 500 pounds less than the Dodge Challenger.

The 1 Series is 2 feet, 2 inches shorter than the Challenger, making the 1 Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The 1 Series is 6.9 inches narrower than the Challenger, making the 1 Series easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

The design of the BMW 1 Series amounts to more than styling. The 1 Series offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .31 to .34 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the Challenger (.35 to .353). A more efficient exterior helps the 1 Series go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the 1 Series get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space Comparison

The 1 Series Coupe has 4.8 inches more rear hip room and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Challenger.

Ergonomics Comparison

When two different drivers share the 1 Series, the optional memory seats make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Challenger doesn’t offer memory seats.

The 1 Series has a lever hand brake in the console, easy to use while keeping both feet free and not impeding entry and exit. The Challenger’s foot pedal parking brake is not handy to use as a hill holding device with a manual transmission.

The 1 Series’ front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Challenger’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the front windows are left down on the 1 Series the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Challenger can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The 1 Series has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Challenger doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The 1 Series’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Challenger’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 1 Series to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Challenger doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 1 Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Challenger doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The 1 Series has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Challenger only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 1 Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Challenger doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 1 Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The 1 Series’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The Challenger SE doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The 1 Series offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Challenger has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The 1 Series’ standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Challenger doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The 1 Series’ standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Challenger doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The 1 Series’ available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service available in a limited number of metro areas.) The Challenger’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

With standard voice command, the 1 Series offers the driver hands free control of the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Challenger doesn’t offer a voice control system.

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