After 20 very happy months with a SEAT Leon FR TSi 211 we decided due to our low millage to get something a little cheaper on RFL and fuel. It ended up as either a Civic or a 1 Series. Civic lost out on a weak engine and my wife struggled to see all the dials properly. Initially I was looking at a 116ED and got some figures before the dealer suggesting looking at a 116i SE due to our low millage. With a bit of negotiating and the sharpening of pencils the 116i SE came out on top. £20 a month less than we were paying for the Leon on top and with a discount that by delivery equated to 13%. As between ordering in November and Delivery in March BMW upped the Spec with DAB and rain/light sensor which we did not have to pay extra for. The £300 servicing was another bonus adding to the reduced running costs compared to the Leon.
As for the car I much prefer SE to M SPort after having spend some time in both. The cheaper SE seems much more comfortable and smaller wheels kick up less road noise. The engine compared to a previous E87 116i I owned is in a different league. It may be an adapted Mini engine but works really well in the 1 Series giving a good blend of performance and economy. Very smooth and linear power deliver that managed 47mpg on the steady drive along A roads home. Ride is another leap forward compared to the E87 yet still feels glued to the road and steering that lets you know exactly what the front is doing. Interior/boot space is much improved on the F20.
Pros. The car is quick. Good on fuel and the seats are comfortable. The car and engine feel solid and during my 13k miles of ownership never let me down. Good looking car. Hold there value.
Cons. The steering and ride is very heavy and has caused me some pain over a long period as I do over 100 miles a day. The car is fragile, all 4 wheels buckled when the car was accidently driven off an 8inch curb at 1-2mph by a dealership collecting the car for a service. Maintenance on the car is expensive with a new tyre costing well over £200 and services at £400+. My 1 series was on its 3rd set of brake disks and had only 50k miles on the clock. Screen washer freezes up a will not defrost if the temperature is below 0'c even after a 2 hour drive. In winter the handling is outright dangerous with even the lightest sprinkle of snow. The rear windscreen gets covered in spray when its wet and the rear wiper only operates once every 15 seconds making it hard to see behind through the mirror. You feel every little bump which is good when you’re racing but not really for every day. Small Boot.
Traded in an old BMW 118i 2008 SE model (33mpg) and this newer model beats it hands down. Handling - better road grip, ride is gentler, husband used to hate the old car so much because of the hard ride. Driving it is a doddle with the automatic now that I commute 70miles per day. Build quality also better - solid feel - and underneath the bonnet - wow - the engine looks so pretty.
I didn't notice too much about the light steering but overall, I'm very satisfied. Compared with the mercedes c class diesel automatic 250, this car shapes up pretty good, albeit slower from 0-60 sec.
I've been running the car for a couple of months now, bought new. The car is styled nicely in the 'Sport' trim, particularly with its grey and aluminium-look alloys, and wide body skirts. Inside, the Sport model offers red detailing including seat and steering wheel stitching, and a red trim below the piano black veneer on the dash. The iDrive system works in true, original BMW style, although the iPhone cable that connects the 30 pin connector to both USB and AUX input at the same time can be expensive and temperamental. Seating position is relatively comfortable, although I have done no journey longer than a couple of hours or so as yet.
The car is my first, aged 17, so I was particularly looking for the most under-powered engine variant in order to obtain satisfactory insurance quotes. Obviously, it doesn't have any spare power lying in wait for risky overtaking or impressive acceleration on motorways, but it does have enough grunt in the lower gears for sharp starts, and acceleration from say 30-50 is very brisk. 105 BHP is enough for this car, but if your insurance premiums are more affordable than mine then I'd recommend not simply going for the lowest powered model without at least trying faster versions as well. The Sport and Sport + modes are great fun on country road, whilst Eco Pro mode seems to deliver impressive fuel saving results. However, the avg MPG so far has been well under what I had expected from such a small engine and body.
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