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

Launch Story

BMW logo10 Dec 2009

By LUCIANO PAOLINO

LOOK out Toyota Prius, because BMW is gunning for the eco dollar with the release this month of the E87 118d hatchback.

Furthermore, the German company is keen to make a green splash in the sports car segment with the 118d version of the E88 1 Series Convertible.

Priced from $42,170 and $52,900 respectively, the 118d hatch – the 2008 World Green Car of the Year no less, and 118d Convertible employ a range of BMW’s EfficientDynamics features that are designed to increase performance while reducing consumption and emissions.

In the 118d hatch the important numbers are 105kW of power at 4000rpm, 300Nm from 1750 to 2500rpm, 0-100km/h in 9.0 seconds (auto: 9.1s), 4.5 litres per 100km in the combined fuel consumption cycle (auto: 5.4L/100km), and just 119 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emissions (auto: 144g/km).

But while the 118d Convertible also delivers 105kW and 300Nm from the same 1995cc 2.0-litre in-line four-cylinder turbo-diesel unit, its 1475kg kerb weight compared with the 118d hatch’s 1320kg mass means that the ragtop is more leisurely to 100km/h from standstill at 9.5 seconds (auto: 9.6 seconds), slightly thirstier at 4.9L/100km (auto: 5.6L/100km) and less carbon friendly at 129g/km (auto: 148g/km).

As in the 123d also released at the same time, the 118d’s fuel economy and low carbon figures are aided by the inclusion of EfficientDynamics measures.

These include idle-stop system that cuts the engine when idling in neutral with the clutch depressed, an optimum shift indicator in the instrumentation panel (telling the driver when to change up or down a gear via an LED display), electric power steering (replacing the use of the hydraulically powered item found on most other BMWs) and brake energy regeneration (generating electric power from energy otherwise wasted as lost heat via the brake system).

But while BMW acknowledges that the 118d hatch’s outputs cannot match the $33,900 (or $53,500 if we’re talking about the generously specified i-Tech) Toyota Prius’ 89g/km and 3.9L/100km results, the Bavarians hit back with promises of no driving pleasure compromises and close-to-hybrid consumption figures in real-world highway driving circumstances.

The other eco duo the 118d hatch is hunting is the $38,990 Audi A3 1.9 TDIe five-speed manual (77kW, 250Nm, 11.7s 0-100km/h, 4.5L/100km and 119g/km) and the $43,500 Mercedes-Benz A180 CDI Classic (80kW, 250Nm, 10.8/11.1s manual/auto, 5.2L/100km and 137/142g/km manual/auto).

Meanwhile, the 118d Convertible operates in a more rarefied atmosphere, with just the $49,900 Audi A3 Cabrio 1.8 TFSI Attraction petrol automatic providing comparable competition against the diesel sun chaser from Southern Germany, or so says BMW.

It provides 118kW, 250Nm, 0-100km/h in 8.0s, 6.9L/100km and 159g/km of CO2 emissions.

We think we can also include the $47,990 Volkswagen EOS 103 TDI in there, thanks to its hearty offerings of 103kW, 320Nm, 0-100km/h in 10.3s, 5.8/6.3L/100km manual/DSG and 153/166g/km manual/DSG.

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