2015 BMW 118i road test and review.
Smooth and fun to drive…that’s a brief review of the newly released 2015 BMW 118i.
A friend of mine always said the outgoing 116i looked as though it should wear Coke-bottle glasses because its face needed something.. anything, to make it a bit less unusual. Not any longer! The car has undergone a mid-life refresh, involving more of a styling makeover than you might expect, and it’s very pleasing to the eye.
There’s a name change too. It’s now the 118i, not the 116i; but the engine is actually the same 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol power plant as before.
Oh, and what used to be the 118i is called the 120i these days. Confused? Don’t be. Whatever it is called, the entry-level BMW 118i is good to drive, and comes with extra features, including rear-view camera, sat-nav, traffic information and 16 inch alloys, at the same price as before. That engine coupled with the automatic transmission is a delight too, smooth and refined.
One of the selling points is bound to be the promise of affordable entry to premium motoring from a prestige brand, starting at $36,900. Don’t worry though, it might be entry level, but you won’t feel as though you have been deprived as this one comes with plenty of features.
The cabin is well thought out, functional, stylish yet minimalist. You will not find any unnecessary flourishes or twiddly-bits here, that’s certainly not BMW’s style.
It’s a rear-wheel drive hatch with 8 speed automatic-transmission, and three drive settings.. Sport, Comfort and Eco-Pro. At the flick of a switch, what is mostly a warm hatch can become quite a hot one, with altered steering, power and gears!
I very much liked my time with this BMW in city driving mode - quick and comfortable on the commute, the stop/start so smooth it’s almost unnoticeable, and it easily fits into the increasingly tight carparks offered in Australia’s big cities these days.
However it was at its best on winding tracks. Select Sport, and this becomes the kind of drive you look forward to, the kind of drive BMW specialises in.
There’s something exhilarating about setting a course through the corners, with the car staying beautifully balanced, delivering loads of fun despite the slightly firm steering.
You might find yourself planning a not-strictly-necessary excursion to the mountains or Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, just for the joy of pushing the 118i through the bends.
If that’s the plan, maybe leave the taller members of your family at home, if you were thinking of putting them in the back. There is leg room back there, but not heaps of it. In fact it could easily become cramped.
Three fully grown adults back there might not be speaking to those in the front seats by the time you got home! And the boot isn’t gargantuan either. But it’s a hatch and more than holds up against competition from Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Audi.
At this stage there isn’t an ANCAP safety rating for the 2015 BMW 1 Series.
In summary, the 2015 BMW 118i is smooth. Also, refined, well thought out, and makes for enjoyable motoring in a rear-wheel drive nicely balanced hatch.
If you’ve always dreamed of driving a BMW without paying the earth, or if you fancy a hatch that’s highly functional and fun to live with, you really should check out the 118i.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2015 BMW 118i
Engine: 1.6 litre turbo-petrol producing 125kW and 250Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic
Safety: Not tested
Warranty: Three years
Price: from $36,900 (manual)