BMW 1 Series 118d SE 3dr Pre-Model Car Review - February 2012

List Price: £21,680
Tax Band: C
Insurance Group: 21
MPG: 62.8
CO2: 119
0-62 Mph: 8.9 secs
BHP: 143 BHP
Range: 705 miles
CarSite Verdict:  3.5/5
The BMW 1 Series 118d SE is a good car, probably the best in the range. It is small, efficient and still powerful. Its only major drawback is its high price. It is a perfect fit for a couple or small family. This means singles will find it convenient too especially as it facilitates the occasional road trip with one or two friends. It comes with all the standard features and a range of cost options should you want to upgrade. The service intervals vary but, on average, the 118d SE will serve you a good number of years without any problems.

PROS:  Good engine. Very comfortable ride. Economical and low on emissions. Large boot.

CONS:  Pricey. Rear cabin is small.

Behind the Wheel

Like all models in the 1 Series, the 118d SE is powered by a reliable engine, in this case a fast, 1995cc diesel. It has a 0-62 mph time of 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. The car is a strong performer, and handles country roads well. Response is instant and at higher revs, you will enjoy the thrill. It produces 143 bhp and delivers torque figures of 221 lb-ft at 1750-2500 rpm, which is much higher than other models in the range.

The car exhibits immense body control, attributable to the rear-wheel drive, and tons of grip. It holds well in bends and corners and is good for motorway and country driving. The engine can be a bit noisy.

BMW has never disappointed in cabin design and in the 118d, the story is the same. The dashboard is refreshingly simple and everything is within reach. The driving position is average but there are loads of rake adjustments to suit different driver heights.

Looks & Equipment

The 118d SE is longer than precedent 1 Series models. It is more spacious and has a smoother and softer look and feel. It is not exactly a stunner but it has a unique layout for a hatchback. It is a 3-door, 5-seater and can comfortably accommodate up to 4 adults, which makes it ideal for a small family.

Standard equipment offering is decent. You get 16” alloy wheels, climate control, electric door mirror and front windows, rear parking sensors; driver, passenger and front side airbags, alarm, immobilizer, CD player and MP3 connectivity.

What is missing is available as a cost option. You can choose to integrate cruise control at £220, Sat Nav at £1,550, leather seats at £1,115, metallic paint at £515, electric sunroof at £690 and Bluetooth connectivity at £250.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

The driving position is not perfect, but it’s bearable. The steering wheel does not align with the pedals so you will be doing a lot of stretching. The rear mirror is also small and limits over-the-shoulder visibility.

Space in the front of the cabin is adequate. The problem however, is at the rear. There is limited legroom and the car comes up short compared to rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf.

However, boot space is adequate for its class at 330 litres. With the seats down, it supersedes the likes of the Audi A3 at 1150 litres. Rear seats fold completely, making it easy to load larger cargo. We wouldn’t speak so favorably of storage in the cabin though because it has very limited storage areas at the front. The glove compartment too is quite small.

Reliability and safety are guaranteed. BMW has never slacked in these two areas and gives them the same attention to detail as it does styling and finishing. There is plenty of standard safety kit including central locking, airbags, electronic stability control, power steering and seat belt pre-tensioners. In the Euro NCAP crash test, the 118d scored an impressive 5-star rating.

Value for Money

Admittedly, the 118d SE costs much more than equivalent rivals go for. A new model goes for £21,680. However, it does have more features and the additional BMW premium quality makes it worth the price.

Running costs are also lower than those of other small hatchbacks, thanks to BMW’s high reliability levels. The Efficient Dynamics incorporated in the transmission system help it return an impressive 62.8mpg on the combined cycle.

Few brands can match BMW’s residual value. Demand and desirability mean the resale value for your car will be high.

BMW 1 Series 118d SE 3dr Pre-Model Car Review - by 
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Medium Family Alternatives

You might want to read reviews for other Medium Family cars that you can then compare to the BMW 1 Series. Here are some popular BMW 1 Series alternatives:

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