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.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.