February 21, 2020

2015 BMW 118i Review

2015 BMW 118i Review

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.

2015 BMW 118i Review
2015 BMW 118i Review.

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.

2015 BMW 118i Review
2015 BMW 118i Review.

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.

2015 BMW 118i Review
2015 BMW 118i Review.

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.

2015 BMW 118i Review
2015 BMW 118i Review.

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

Origin: Germany

Price: from $36,900 (manual)

About Peter Hitchener 47 Articles
Peter is a recent addition to the team, coming on as a writer and co-host of the podcast in the past year. Peter is a familiar face to Victorians as anchor of Nine News in Melbourne for 17 years. Before that, he had a history in radio as a broadcaster at 3AW, 3AK, 4BH and the ABC. Learning to drive on the farm as a kid, Peter was always drawn in by the look and design of cars. A passionate enthusiast, he loves anything with four wheels and a motor and has owned and driven countless vehicles in his lifetime.

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