BMW 1 Series Convertible 118i Sport 2dr Car Review - February 2012

REVIEW
List Price: £24,255
Tax Band: G
Insurance Group: 24
MPG: 43.5
CO2: 152
0-62 Mph: 9.3 secs
BHP: 143 BHP
Range: 488 miles
CarSite Verdict:  3.75/5
The 118i Sport convertible is one of the best options within this range as the price is reasonable and the fuel efficiency is fantastic due to BMW’s ‘Efficient Dynamics’ technology. The Sport trim is a good choice, offering most features a driver is likely to need and offers better value for money than the similarly priced ES model.

However, the power and speed of the 118i are not particularly impressive, so if performance is important then it might be worth stretching to a more expensive model. The suspension will be too firm for many drivers, making the drive quite uncomfortable - although there is the option to change to the regular suspension.

PROS:  A great basic convertible with a reasonable price tag, great fuel efficiency and low running costs. The Sport trim comes with all the equipment you are likely to need and good handling makes this model fun to drive.

CONS:  Not the most attractive of open top cars and the suspension will be too firm for many drivers. The rear seat space leaves much to be desired and this is not the quickest car on the market either.

Behind the Wheel

The 143 bhp engine delivers 140lb-ft of torque at 4250 rpm which allows the car to travel from 0-62mph in a moderately fast 9.3 seconds. This combines with a top speed of 130 mph to give the car decent performance credentials. Enthusiastic drivers may be put off by the lack of grunt, however.

The 1 Series Sport trim has firmer suspension than other models and this means that the ride can be uncomfortable. Despite this, the manual gearbox is smooth and the car really comes into its own on twisting back roads where the front engine and the rear-wheel drive work together seamlessly. This allows the car to cope with different road conditions, offering fantastic body control as well as good grip and balance, providing a great driving experience.

The engine is also refined and quiet on the road, with noises from the suspension and road also kept to a minimum within the cabin. Wind noise can be a little disruptive at motorway speeds but this is rarely excessive.

Looks & Equipment

As an advanced trim option, the Sport model comes with alloy wheels, air conditioning, MP3 connectivity and an advanced stereo system as standard fittings. Optional extras are unsurprisingly extensive but the model offers a number of benefits over the lower-grade ES model without incurring a massive price difference.

Leather seats cost an additional £1,010 whilst climate control is priced at £400 with rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite navigation priced at £350, £400 and £1660 respectively.

On top of these features the 1 Series models come with the iDrive control system as well as BMW's 'Efficient Dynamics' technology to help make the drive more comfortable - although the iDrive will take some getting used to.

Overall, the 1 Series is fairly attractive but unfortunately the interior does not match the elegance of more expensive models and this gives the car a functional rather than attractive feel.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

Surprisingly, this BMW actually offers improved space within the boot and rear seats due to an elongated body design which was introduced following criticism of previous models. Whilst this model is an improvement on previous versions it is still less than roomy, with legroom between the front and rear seats particularly limited.

For those in the front, the 1 Series offers a great driving position with a lot of adjustment available. Unfortunately, the adjustment system is a bit fiddly and this means finding the perfect position can take some time.

Whilst practicality may be a little hit-and-miss in this car, reliability and safety are consistently high. The 1 Series is a well crafted and engineered car and rated well in the 2011 JD Power survey. There is also a three year warranty with unlimited mileage offered with the car for extra reassurance.

An advanced safety kit offers driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags as standard alongside traction control and dynamic stability control. To protect the car from theft, an alarm, immobiliser, remote central locking and deadlocks are all part of the car's standard equipment.

Value for Money

The 1 Series Sport convertible is priced at £24,255 which is an appealing price for a BMW open top. Running costs are much lower than average due to the 'Efficient Dynamics' technology and combine with an efficient engine to offer relatively good value for money.

Fuel efficiency of 43.5mpg is achieved on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 152g/km put the car under a fairly mid-range road tax band (G).

The Sport open top is a good option for a basic convertible and comes with all the equipment drivers are likely to want. However, the lack of performance when compared to other models means that whilst this car may look the part, it fails to deliver on the road.

BMW 1 Series Convertible 118i Sport 2dr Car Review - by 
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