2012 BMW 116d Efficient Dynamics review

* New 99g/km BMW 1 Series driven * On sale now * Priced from 20,885...

2012 BMW 116d Efficient Dynamics review

The new BMW 116d Efficient Dynamics is a version of the 1 Series hatchback that will grab the attention of buyers looking to cut their motoring bills.

It averages an official 74.3mpg and emits just 99g/km of CO2, figures that puts it firmly on a par with rivals from the likes of Audi and Volkswagen.

Where the 116d Efficient Dynamics (ED) has the edge on these rivals is power. Its 1.6-litre diesel engine produces 114bhp, compared with the 104bhp of the cleanest Audi A3 and VW Golf. As a result, the 1 Series gets from 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds, whereas the Golf and A3 need 11.3 and 11.4 seconds respectively.

The 116d ED also comes with BMW's Dynamic Drive Control system, which lets you select from Sport, Normal and Eco Pro. The latter setting makes several changes to the car's onboard systems to help you maximise efficiency.

Whats the 2012 BMW 116d ED like to drive?
As part of the quest to reduce emissions, BMW has lowered the suspension of the 1 Series by 10mm for this ED version, so it has a slightly firmer ride than standard 1 Series models.

Otherwise, though, the 116d ED's economical nature is kept largely subdued unless you choose Eco Pro mode. This could leave you feeling slightly nagged by the constant reminders that urge you to change gear, ease off the throttle and even slow down.

Switch to Sport, and you're allowed to exploit more of the engine's power. The ED isn't a blisteringly quick car, but there's enough go to make it entertaining.

Sharp steering and tight body control also play their part, and there's loads of grip.

The 1.6-litre diesel doesn't sound clattery like some other low-emission units, while a well-insulated cabin keeps out most wind- and road noise.

Whats the 2012 BMW 116d ED like inside?
The latest 1 Series has more space for rear passengers and luggage than its predecessor. However, it's still pretty cramped compared with the class best, and the small rear window limits over-the-shoulder visibility.

BMW's iDrive system, which controls the cars main navigation and entertainment functions, is far more impressive, because it's well designed and easy to operate.

The rest of the cabin uses high-quality materials - at eye level at least - and the seats are supportive.

Should I buy one?
If you're after a 1 Series and are buying with company cash then this is definitely the model to choose, because it sits four tax bands below the regular 116d and averages an extra 11.5mpg.

You dont have to put up with the poor performance and engine refinement that are often associated with low-CO2 diesels, either.

Just bear in mind that, like all 1 Series models, the ED isn't especially practical.

Audi A3
Volkswagen Golf

What Car? says

Tom Webster