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Car reviews - BMW - 1 Series - 118d 5-dr hatch

Our Opinion

We like
Solidity, class-leading emissions and fuel economy, slick six-speed manual gearbox, rear-drive chassis, real BMW feel
Room for improvement
Ageing cabin, seems too expensive, road noise intrusion, some diesel engine noise intrusion, idle-stop functionality can be a bit slow to start up

BMW logo10 Dec 2009

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

WHILE we could not wait for the twin-turbo diesel 123d 1 Series to appear on the scene, we must say that the equally anticipated 118d only left us feeling a tad disappointed.

In a nutshell, for the brief 20 minutes we had with a six-speed manual 118d, it seems like too much money to achieve economy and emissions figures that are only marginally better than – say – the 123d.

We liked its smooth powertrain, satisfying six-speed manual gearshift, characteristically 1 Series levels of body control and dynamic prowess and solid feel.

But the refinement levels seemed a bit off, the whole cabin ambience a little too spartan now that the VW Golf ‘6’ is here to rewrite the parameters on premium interiors, and that mostly seamless idle-stop application can be caught out if you’re in a real hurry to get a move on – as we found out a couple of times during our brief drive around Phillip Island’s public roads.

The Golf TDI – in fact – makes every premium eco diesel (A3, Benz A180 CDI) seem too much for too little.

Obviously, we need a lot more time before we can even begin to give a definitive verdict on this most admirable if somewhat disappointing effort from BMW.

But we can tell you already that we would prefer a 120d or Mini D, or consider the latest Toyota Prius if driving pleasure does not interest you one iota.

Of course, if it does, save up your hard earned for the fabulous 123d Coupe.

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