A "general public" series
The 1 Series is the gateway to the BMW universe. This compact, the first generation of which was launched sixteen years ago (already!) Immediately found its audience. It must be said that at the time, it was one of a kind (and remained so) with its rear-wheel drive, pledges on paper for greater driving pleasure. This torch was taken up by the second generation in 2011 but not by the third here tested and launched last year. And for good reason ! For reasons of economy and also of industrial logic, the current Series 1 (code name F40) is based on the same platform as the X1 and other Mini, with motors installed transversely and now, front-wheel drive (or 4×4 at the top of the range). Should this be seen as a regression? Not for BMW who admits that most customers of the old 1 Series did not even realize the subtlety of architecture of their car! And as our first tests of the new German compact proved, driving pleasure is always there. including as here with this mid-range diesel.
A deflated but not swelling diesel …
No offense to grumpy people, we can appreciate a diesel engine and the block driving this 118d is the demonstration. It is the same 2.0 fitted to the 120d (190 hp / 400 Nm) but in its flanged version. This does not mean that this four-cylinder is softened with its 150 hp and especially its 350 Nm of torque available from 1,750 rpm. Facing our stopwatch, the 118d delivers already largely sufficient performance with a 0 to 100 km / h under the symbolic bar of ten seconds (9.2 s) and a 1,000 m. start-stop (30.8 s) also of the tonic type. The 116d, which you can read the essay here, does not take the distance. But beyond the raw figures, it is especially the general approval that appeals. Voluntary, this engine gives the feeling of having enough under the right foot and it finds in the eight-speed automatic transmission the ideal companion. Certainly, the investment in the option (2300 € + 150 € if you want the paddles behind the wheel) is not negligible, but it is clearly worth it. Always in the right tempo while being very smooth, this transmission is among the most successful automatic of the moment. It also helps to control the sound environment on board by allowing the main axes to rotate at low speeds (less than 2,000 rpm at 130 km / h) the engine, which is also very well encapsulated, to diesel means …
Sobriety at the rendezvous
Professionals of which it will be the official car, individuals driving a lot and stingy too: rejoice! With this 118d, you will not often have to get your hands dirty with the pump gun to refuel. According to our certified measurements, this Munichoise is content with 6.2 l / 100 km of diesel on average (and even 5.7 l / 100 km only on the road). Still, its star rival, the A200d Class (also 150 hp) in the DCT8 automatic version does even better in the same exercise with a record value: 5.8 l / 100 km! There is however no photo when the interest of this 118d for big wheelers since for comparison its gasoline equivalent (118i, 140 hp) claims for its part 7.9 l / 100 km. On the other hand BMW is really inflated to invoice in option (55 €) the option 50 l of the tank (42 l in series) which makes it possible to cover a hundred additional kilometers.
A compact to drive and BCBG
If you think that switching to the Series 1 has become as exciting to drive as a supermarket cart, you are wrong. Steering heavy enough to give a feeling of sportiness, catchy front end and playful rear end when tickled, this German is one of the most fun compacts to carry. Especially since everything is done to make the driver feel at home. Offering a wide range of adjustments, seat and steering wheel allow everyone to find "their" position and the controls are childish to use. Real buttons to control the air conditioning, a reactive touch screen (which however requires time to adapt to wandering through the menus), certainly, the driving position gives shape a feeling of seen and seen at BMW but aficionados of the brand will be delighted to find their … brands. At least the set has a finish and assemblies at the price level and it is obviously possible by drawing from the huge catalog of options to improve "the ordinary". Thus, our test model was endowed with piloted damping, an equipment which we recommend to you since besides a not unreasonable price (between 160 € and 510 € according to the completion) it makes it possible, by playing with the programs driving, between the sport chassis (too firm) and the standard, less dynamic.
Life … in small
If we could understand with their particular architecture (engine in the longitudinal position taking up a lot of space and rear axle), that the previous generations of Serie 1 were not very livable, it is a pity that BMW did not really improve things with this new generation. If at the front everything is fine, on the back seat, you feel cramped and you have to deal with the center with a service tunnel (used for all-wheel drive versions) taking up space. Finally, accessing the seat is not easy with a door that does not free up enough space. Finally, the boot volume – one of the smallest in the category – also does not impress even if there is additional space under the floor (+30 dm3). In short, if you are looking for a versatile compact sedan, this German may not be the one to choose.
No need to draw yourself a drawing. Just because the 1 Series is the smallest of the BMWs does not mean that it has low prices. In its basic version, with the automatic gearbox, this 118d is not priced below € 32,650, which is € 2,900 more than the petrol equivalent 118i with the dual-clutch gearbox DKG7. Our generously equipped test model cost a whopping 48,199.99 euros. Gloups! This is obviously very expensive for a compact sedan. But also know that many of those who take the wheel will not own it, since this 118d (and even more its little sister 116d) is primarily aimed at corporate fleets.