We’ve been seeing a convertible version of the BMW 1-Series running around the Nurburgring earlier but I don’t think any of us expected it to be unveiled in full glory by BMW so soon after the 1-Series Coupe! Is this a German take on the iconic Mazda MX5?

The 1-Series Convertible will share similiar model ranges with the 1-Series Coupe launched earlier, this means the 128i and the 135i for the American market, but the European market will get a slightly different lineup to the 1 Coupe – 118i, 120i, 120d, 125i and 135i. The 123d seems to be missing for now.

Unlike the 3 Convertible which uses a coupe-convertible style retractable hard top, the new BMW 1-Series Convertible uses a soft top that goes up or down in 22 seconds and can work at speeds up to 40km/h. The soft top is available in either black or taupe cloth, and there is also a special Moonlight Black soft top which is woven with fine shiny metallic fibers which produce a shimmery metallic silver appearance in sunlight.

Standard upholstery is Leatherette, but the interior can be optionally done up with Boston leather which incorporates BMW’s Sun Reflective Technology pigments which first made it’s debut in the 3 Convertible. This makes sure excessive heating of the seats and armrest is reduced when the top is open.

The climate control system is slightly different from the one in the 1 Coupe. It has a special convertible mode which is meant to be used when the roof is down. Instead of the normal climate control modes which react to interior sensors, this convertible mode reacts more to exterior temperature and sunlight intensity. Also, there are wind deflectors that can be affixed to the sides of the 1 Convertible to allow for conversation at normal sound levels. The trunk of the 1 Convertible fits two golf bags even when the top is down. This is a storage capacity of 240 litres.

Like the 1 Coupe, the 1 Convertible uses BMW’s latest generation of rear axles which have a built in electronic limited slip function. The rear differential also uses double-helical ball bearings to run at a lower operating temperature. They also require less fluid.

In terms of safety, you have airbags, DSC with DTC and antilock brakes of course, but for rollover safety it has a roll-over sensor which continually monitors the vertical and horizontal movements of the vehicle. Two roll bars are extended from their storage compartments behind the rear headrests if the sensors detect a rollover is imminent. The A pillar and windshield frame has also been strengthened to enhance rollover protection.

More photos after the jump.