I’ve got a soft spot for BMW, having owned a couple of 3-series I know what they are capable of producing when it comes to handling and quality of finish. A week in the 118i and all those memories come flooding back – at a much more affordable price too!
Engine / Transmission: 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol. 8-speed sports automatic Steptronic transmission
Vital Stats: 100kW / 220Nm
BMW Claimed Fuel Economy: 5.6l / 100km
EFTM Claimed Fuel Economy: 8.5l/ 100km (to be fair, almost entirely stop/start city driving)
Price: $36,900 + $2,055 options
Wow Factor: I bought a 3-series BMW in the year 2000, it was $60,000 or so – and they didn’t come much cheaper. Adding the 1 series to the range has made the BMW brand reach more people and probably added a second BMW to more than a few driveways. Just the fact that a BMW could be yours for less than $40,000 is a bit of a wow factor is it not?
Most Impressive: Despite being the baby of the bunch, and despite the lower price – this is still every bit a BMW. The fit, the finish, and of course the handling – If you’re putting BMW on the showroom shopping list its most certainly one you have to drive to get a simple look at how they just do it that “bit” better that sets them apart.
I can’t not mention the infotainment system here, which is feature rich for the class, and while the DAB+ radio is a nearly $400 option it’s well worth it. The default 8 button macro-presets are my favourite feature. Seen in the Rolls Royce this is more than just “station presets” – each button can be a radio station, or a map destination, actually almost any function or page on the entire infotainment system. Quality stuff.
Least Impressive: These vehicles are hard to fault, my personal hatred (shared by my wife I found out) of the stop/start engine feature at the traffic lights aside – You’ll think I’m crazy given what I’ve said above – but the price is probably the least impressive. $40,000 is a lot to pay for a vehicle this size, stacked up against the Mazda 3 for example you may find it hard to justify unless you are a genuine student of motoring, handling and the quality of interiors.
The Sweeping Statement: This has every element of BMW which for years was achieved only at the 3-series “entry-level” – if the budget fits, this is a must drive when you’re car shopping, and when you do, do what the salesman told me 15 years ago, find a roundabout and drive through it like you want to – that’s when you’ll feel what handling really is.