The 118i is the second-cheapest in BMW’s new 1-series model line.
Amongst our test car’s ‘optional extras’ was a Sportline pack ($1600), which includes alternative pattern 17” alloys, trim detail enhancements and front sports seats. The latter are comfortably supportive, and the electric backrest width adjustment moves the bolsters in or out, allowing for a perfect torso-hugging ‘fit’.
BMW’s chassis engineers have graced the rear-drive 118i with excellent dynamics, making the more curvaceous road home seem doubly attractive. It’s communicative and feels nimble flowing through direction changes with ease and precision. There’s lovely balance, plus crisp, linear steering response.
The new, twin-scroll turbo engine and intuitive eight-speed auto are perfect partners. Gearbox shifts are smooth and barely apparent at low throttle openings. It’s equally smooth, but with a firmer more positive feel, on harder acceleration.
The engine is responsive through the rev range, with peak torque available from 1500rpm, and offers a level of performance that surprises and delights, given its modest 1.6-litre capacity.
Rear passengers won’t be so enamoured of available cabin space, with the centre position the worst. Tyre and road noise can be intrusive, and a lack of proximity entry seems out of step when the car features keyless start via a dash button.