2013 BMW 118i Review
Written by: Tim Marsh
The new BMW 118i continues to show the German brand’s commitment to a quality small car at affordable prices for a luxury brand. This hatchback breaks from the traditional image of a pedestrian family vehicle, providing a sharp look and performance combined with more space than you would expect in a small car. While it’s more expensive than its 116i sibling, the 118i has additional features including 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, fog lights, and more storage than last year’s
BMW has simplified its 1 Series trim level options to three choices: Sport, Urban, and M Sport. Engine options are limited to 4-cylinder 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol.
Under the bonnet
BMW’s 4-cylinder engine delivers significantly more performance than one might expect due to the 1 Series’ TwinPower turbo system which provides a necessary boost to performance. Many 2013 BMW 118i reviews praise the brand for getting so much out of a small engine. High precision injection technology and variable valve control ensure smooth driving and engine performance reflected in the car’s measurable numbers – the 118i’s engine delivers 125 kW/250 Nm torque and 5.9 litres combined fuel efficiency with a 0-100km time of only 7.4 seconds. Transmission options include a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic.
Exterior and style
BMW’s complete redesign of the 1 Series shows through in the new hatchback’s strong, squat yet sporty stance. BMW’s stated aim to
be youthful and spontaneous while remaining true to the brand succeeds here. A longer bonnet, lower-slung chassis, and new xenon headlamps give the car its sporty appearance while narrower windows and larger doors (courtesy of a lengthened body) create a more appealing entrance to the car.
Interior and comfort
BMW addressed one of the major complaints about the original 1 Series by maximising rear seat space in order to allow passengers (and cargo) to rest more comfortably. While it’s still not expansive, the additional room allows back seat passengers more room to stretch their legs out. The space for driver and passenger has been expanded as well, improving the experience.
The iDrive computer continues to be one of the best in the industry with user-friendly controls over all necessary car functions at hand in the centre console. Without leather upholstered seats (which cost extra as an option), the interior of the car doesn’t quite live up to the expectations of the luxury brand but the rest of the cabin is more than adequate.
The BMW 118i lives up to the brand’s reputation for being among the safest on the road with a 5-star safety rating and a comprehensive list of safety features including three-point seatbelts, dual front, front-side and curtain airbags, dynamic traction control, stability control, ABS, and brake assist. In addition, the 118i adds automatic rain sensors and automatic headlight activation for driving in suboptimal conditions.
On the road
Don’t be fooled by the 1.6L engine – a twin-scroll turbo means that this car actually pushes 25kW more power than the previous edition. Apart from a bit of throttle lag, the 118i responds quickly and powerfully, making it an enjoyable ride. The impressive 8-speed automatic transmission ensures a smooth drive around town.
What sets this car apart from the rest of the small-car crowd is its rear-wheel drive. While the layout compromises a bit on economy and boot space, it also delivers a balanced, confident drive when put through its paces. The ECO PRO, Comfort, and Sport settings deliver optimized driving experiences for most drivers and features like Auto Start/Stop and Brake Energy Regeneration maintain engine efficiency in the city.
Value for money
BMW 118i prices for the manual start at $43,200 ($45,893 for the automatic), which represents a great value for slightly above
entry-level luxury car. The list of standard equipment is impressive, though add-ons can drive the price tag up quickly. Stick with the base model for the best value.
The market for small luxury cars has intensified in the last several years, but BMW 118i prices still come in under comparable Mercedes-Benz B-Series ($44,900) and Audi A3 ($45,600) models. The rear wheel drive on the 118i differentiates it from the competition and makes it stand out in the small luxury car market.
BMW has hit on a winner with the 1-Series, and this 118i is certainly no exception. Those looking for more room to carry 4 full-sized passengers or larger cargo might want to look farther up the BMW line, but anyone looking for an affordable small luxury car will find what they’re looking for in this vehicle.
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Posted in BMW 1 Series