BMW 130i Sport - Review New - Motoring - theage.com.au | Catalog-cars

BMW 130i Sport – Review New – Motoring – theage.com.au

29 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on BMW 130i Sport – Review New – Motoring – theage.com.au
BMW 130

BMW 130i Sport

BMW’s new 130i Sport is for serious drivers, says CAMERON McGAVIN.

Hot hatch sizzles

For: Strong and sweet powerplant, brilliant handling, well equipped, classy cabin ambience

Against: Expensive, cramped back seat, average boot space

Rating: 4 stars (see ratings key below).

After almost fading away during the 1990s, the hot hatch movement has really started to gather steam in recent years. And with buyers looking to smaller cars more than ever, and models such as Ford’s Focus XR5 Turbo, Holden’s Astra Turbo Coupe and Mazda’s 3 MPS soon to stir the pot, the trend appears likely to continue.

BMW’s 130i Sport is arguably the hottest hatch around. Instead of the sweet but soft 2.0-litre fours found in regular 1-Series models, the 130i Sport has the new 3.0-litre six recently introduced in the 3-Series, with a hefty 195 kW of power.

It’s a tantalising prospect for keen drivers – the 1-Series’ unique rear-wheel-drive chassis is the acknowledged small car standard-setter, and now it has the power to make the most of it. With only 120 coming to Australia this year, it’s destined to be exclusive, too.

The 130i Sport, however, is in a different arena to most hot hatches when it comes to price. At $62,900, it’s about $20,000 more than its 120i sibling and traditional hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI. Mazda’s RX-8, Nissan’s 350Z and a host of other excellent sports drives can be had for about the same price.

BMW justifies some of the value concerns by giving the 130i Sport a healthy equipment list. Power leather sports seats, a chunky leather M Sport steering wheel, climate control, trip computer, cruise control, rear parking sensors, Xenon headlights, 17-inch alloys and a six-stack CD sound system are all standard. Safety is well covered by six airbags, ABS and electronic trickery such as stability/traction control.

We’re already big fans of BMW’s new magnesium/aluminium-block 3.0-litre six, and in the 130i Sport it finds a happy home. Power is up 5 kW to 195 kW over the 330i version, thanks to a freer breathing, sportier sounding exhaust. And with just 1375 kg to propel, it can do the 0-100 km/h sprint in a claimed (and swift) 6.1 seconds.

A six-speed manual gearbox is the only transmission available.

On the road the 130i pulls strongly and smoothly from low revs, has a mighty mid range and screams to 7000 rpm with barely disguised aggression.

The six-speed manual is a good partner for the silky six, with quick and precise, if slightly notchy, shifts and a good mix of ratios.

The BMW will burn up to 15 L/100 km in hard driving, but gentle urban and highway use returned a frugal 9.7 L/100 km, impressively close to the official claim.

No complaints, either, about the way the 130i Sport handles the demands of a twisty road. With precise, beautifully weighted steering, strong brakes, massive grip and a finely honed sense of balance, it’s both supremely capable and very entertaining.

The price to be paid for the BMW’s confident road-holding is its ride, which struggles to absorb low-speed bumps and feels a touch edgy around town. At highway speeds, though, the 130i shows an impressive tolerance for rural back roads.

The cabin, with its unique trim and leather sports seats, looks classy and rates highly for front-seat space and comfort, seating/steering adjustability and sitting of the controls. Assembly is first rate but some of the plastics don’t live up to the price tag.

Then there’s the 1-Series’ well-documented lack of back seat and boot space. It’s less of an issue in the overtly sporty 130i, but it’s hard not to feel short-changed by the laughably tight foot, knee and leg space, and the boot’s average capacity despite the lack of a spare tyre.

Such quibbles pale in the light of how well the 130i Sport fulfils its role as a driver’s car. Yes, it is costly by hot hatch standards, but the BMW’s driving nous and flair compares with cars costing much more.

Nuts ‘n’ bolts – BMW 130i Sport

How much? $62,900 (man only) plus options and on-road costs.

BMW 130

Insurance: Premium $869 (RACV wholly owned, driver 40-plus, rating one, medium-risk suburb, $450 excess).

Warranty: 2 years/unlimited km.

Engine: 3.0-litre, double overhead cam, 24-valve six-cylinder. 195 kW at 6600 rpm and 315 Nm at 2750 rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive.

Steering: Rack and pinion, 3.1 turns lock to lock. Turning circle 10.7 m.

Brakes: Ventilated discs (f); ventilated discs (r) ABS with EBD and BA.

Suspension: Independent front and rear.

Wheels/Tyres: Alloy. F: 17×7.0 and R: 17×7.5 inch. Tyres. F: 205/50 and R: 225/45. No spare.

How big? Length: 4227 mm, Width: 1751 mm, Height: 1430 mm, Wheelbase: 2660 mm.

How heavy? 1375 kg.

How thirsty? 9.2 L/100 km, premium unleaded. Fuel tank 53 litres.

Equipment: Six airbags; stability/ traction control; climate-control air conditioning; power front seats; trip computer; cruise control; six-stack CD player; rear parking sensors; immobiliser.

BMW 130
BMW 130
BMW 130
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