BMW 118d Urban Review

22 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on BMW 118d Urban Review

BMW 118d Urban Review

Cons Still cramped in rear, expensive and desirable options might blow your budget

In October 2004 the first BMW 1-Series was introduced in Australia. It was the first time BMW had ever offered a vehicle line sized and priced below the 3-Series (although it must be remembered that the 1967 BMW 1600 was physically smaller). Apart from being a BMW with all that implies in terms of style, cachet, safety and dynamism, the 1-Series was unique in the segment for its rear-wheel drive configuration.

Few cars of any price offered a more connected driving experience: it was a little cracker!

The problem though was that there was little room in the rear seat. With a tall driver, there was inadequate room for even an average size person directly behind. Now, with the second generation 1-Series available locally, this issue has been partially addressed because the latest car is more spacious while retaining every bit of its predecessor#8217;s dynamic and sporty character.

For the first time in the world, a small car is offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission. While many buyers will prefer the standard six-speed manual, the majority will doubtless choose two-pedal motoring. The new 1-Series offers superior value for money to its space-compromised predecessor. BMW Australia offers a wider range of choice with three different engines and two new variants, Sportline and Urban.

There is no space here to itemise equipment and specification but suffice it to say that the starting price of the 118d Urban on test was $46,100 without including its optional equipment: it is easy to spend $60K to get your individualised 1-Series into your driveway.

This could only be a BMW and its overall proportions of long bonnet and short rear overhang convey a strong rear-wheel drive character. The rakish roofline embodies BMW#8217;s famous Hofmeister kink at the rear of the side windows.

From front-on, the BMW character is especially distinctive with the large grille kidneys and stylish double-round headlights. It has more road presence than you expect in such a small machine. The wide tracks, wide wheels and low overall height give it an aggressive demeanour, more suggestive of a sports car than a shopping trolley.

The optional high gloss white, angled face 17-inch alloys are gorgeous. BMW has long been renowned for creating driver-focused cabins and this one is a delight. Very high quality materials are evident throughout.


This new car is 85 mm longer and 30 of this goes into the wheelbase for the benefit of rear occupants. Ingress and egress are much improved. Having said this, it#8217;s still not all that comfortable in the rear seat for a tall person sitting behind a tall driver, 30 mm not being sufficient to resolve this problem completely.

Many technically small cars such as the Holden Cruze and Hyundai Elantra now offer remarkable rear seat space but we believe BMW will not have to worry, such is the charisma of this latest 1-Series; there may not be many inches but every one of them says BMW! Luggage capacity is up by 10 per cent to 360 litres. This can be expanded to 1200 litres by lowering the 60/40 split-folding rear seats to give a flat surface extending all the way to the front seats.

There are more storage areas, too, but it is still not an area where BMW excels.  The combination leather and cloth upholstery has a sporty, luxurious feel and appearance. The long list of standard equipment includes a simplified iDrive system with a range of menu buttons to make it slightly less counter-intuitive, and a free-standing 6.5-inch monitor, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and a good sound system.

This is a cosy cabin in the best sense and lacks the austerity that was once characteristic of BMWs.

Performance Economy

It takes a stretch of memory to recall that diesel engines were once rattly, smoky and gave lacklustre performance. BMW is at the forefront of common rail diesel engine technology and this great 2.0-litre four is fantastic.

Maximum power doesn#8217;t look astonishing on paper at 105 kW but the 320 Nm of torque that is the backbone of the 118d#8217;s performance is on tap from 1750 rpm through to 2500.

Not only does this make for linear performance from just off idle through to 4500 rpm, but the eight-speed automatic transmission maximises the engine#8217;s opportunities, providing, for example, a very low first gear for rapid initial acceleration. Zero to 100 km/h takes about 9 seconds but average fuel consumption is officially rated at 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres: call it the best of both worlds for a luxurious small car.

Ride Handling

At the heart of the appeal of all BMWs is the driving experience. The 118d delivers in spades. The weight, quickness and accuracy of the steering is perfect.

Rear-wheel drive became rare in this class of car a long time back but the configuration is a key element of BMW philosophy.

Superb balance front to rear sets the 1-Series apart from most front-drivers. There is no feeling of nose-heaviness. The ride comfort is very good for the size of the vehicle.

Mark this Bee-Emm 9 out of 10 for dynamics.

This is the driver#8217;s choice among small cars and rear passengers#8217; rights get slightly compromised in the process.


Brake Assist

Cruise Control – with Brake Function (limiter)

Electronic Differential Lock

Engine immobiliser

First Aid Kit

Lock Nuts

Metallic Finish Inserts

Multi-function Control Screen – Colour

On-board Computer

Trip Computer

Tyre Pressure Sensor

Standard Specifications

12V Sockets – Auxiliary

17 Alloy Wheels

6 Speaker Stereo

ABS (Antilock Brakes)

Adjustable Steering Col. (Tilt Reach)

Antenna – in Rear Glass

Armrest – Front Centre (Shared)

Armrest – Rear Centre (Shared)

Audio – Aux Input Socket (MP3/CD/Cassette)

Audio – Aux Input USB Socket

Audio – Input for iPod

Audio – MP3 Decoder

Bluetooth System

Brake Assist

Brake Emergency Display – Hazard/Stoplights

Brakes – Regenerative

Cargo Net

Cargo Tie Down Hooks/Rings

Central Locking – Once Mobile

Central Locking – Remote/Keyless

Chrome Exhaust Tip

Chrome Grille Surround

Cruise Control – with Brake Function (limiter)

Cup Holders – 1st Row

Disc Brakes Front Ventilated

Door Pockets – 1st row (Front)

Door Pockets – 2nd row (rear)

Drive By Wire (Electronic Throttle Control)

Electronic Differential Lock

Engine – Stop Start System (When at idle)

Engine immobiliser

First Aid Kit

Heated Washer Jets

Illuminated – Entry/Exit with Fade

Leather Steering Wheel

Lock Nuts

Metallic Finish Inserts

Multi-function Control Screen – Colour

On-board Computer

Power Door Mirrors – Heated

Power Steering – Electric Assist

Power Windows – Remote Control Open/Close

Rain Sensor (Auto wipers)

Rear View Mirror – Electric Anti Glare

Rear Wiper/Washer

Remote Boot/Hatch Release

Remote Fuel Lid Release

Starter Button – Key/Fob Proximity

Storage Compartment – Centre Console 1st Row

Sunvisor – Vanity Mirror for Driver

Sunvisor – Vanity Mirror for Passenger


Tail Lamps – LED

Trim – Cloth

Trip Computer

Tyre Pressure Sensor

Tyres – Runflat

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