BMW 116i 3-door Sport Line

BMW 116i SPort Line Car Review
BMW 116i Sport Line

I drove the old 1 series BMW 5-door a few years ago and I really hated it. The overall design was flawed in that everything seemed to be packaged with the lack of space in mind. The rear was cramped, as was the boot and even the front was cosier than I would expect from BMW’s first foray into hatchback-land. I liked the departure from traditional hatchback styling and I liked that it was rear wheel drive but that was it really.

Taking delivery of the new 116i Sport Line 3-door model, I wasn’t going to make the same comparisons of space. I was going to judge this Crimson Red 3-door hatch on its own merits, of which it has plenty.

First off, it looks fantastic. I love the unmistakeable ‘waistline’ that extends from the rear tail light clusters all the way to the fenders. I also love the double spoke 18 inchers that give the car its sporty presence. If you don’t know, BMW offers the new 1 series in either Urban Line; Sport Line & M-Sport Line packages. The Urban line is supposedly more metropolitan and offers exterior aesthetic options such as white mirror caps, white slats in the grille, different wheel options and more trendy body colours from which to choose. The interior options also include similar optional appointments and I assume this Urban Line package appeals more to art directors and food stylists than people like me. I am not a big fan of the Urban Line package but what is great about the options is that it gives the 1- series a broader appeal which is great for people like you and me...and the art directors.

Exterior Styling appointments on the Sport Line 

If you’re in it for the love of the drive, then this entry-level 1 series won’t disappoint. It’s purposeful and dynamic and produces 100kW from the 1,6 TwinPower Turbo unit. That’s the same power as my Peugeot 307 but it’s so much faster. (Yes, we matched them up). It’s also so much more fun and a genuinely thrilling drive. The steering is perfectly weighted as is the solid gearshift action and the engine in Sport mode feels strong and aurally exciting. The BMW 50:50 weight distribution and the rear-wheel drive make swift changes of direction a lot of fun particularly in Sport mode. I’ve come to expect this level of driver-joy from BMW but to experience it from a 116i entry level car is extraordinary.

18 inch double spoke alloys create a sport, purposeful presence

Is it fuel efficient? Is it considerate towards our environment? I am not best suited to say but it continues BMW’s Efficient Driving Dynamics thinking with Brake Energy Regeneration; Start/Stop system and ECO pro mode. Driving with this in mind, I managed to do 7,6l/100km after 220km of driving in urban Johannesburg which is really good considering I wasn’t testing this car solely based on its fuel consumption.

The BMW 1 series is what the marketers at BMW would use to lure younger buyers to the brand and then hopefully keep them brand loyal and track them into bigger and more expensive Beemers as the years roll on. I’ve never met any more brand loyal people than BMW drivers so what they’ve managed to do with this new 116i Sport Line is brilliant. It’s 100% BMW and the Sheer Driving Pleasure motto is completely fitting for this car in the same way that it is for a BMW Z4. You can also buy a new 1 series according to a host of options so that the car you end up in is exactly you. So there’s many reasons to visit a BMW dealer to talk about this car.

Sport Line / Urban Line M135i 116i
In BMW fashion interior appointments are functional and simple
The base list price for this particular model is R283,000 but you could spec this car to cost more than R400,000 if you wanted absolutely everything on the options list. The car I drove was specced with niceties like Lane Departure Warning, the BMW Professional SatNav package and reversing camera.

I really didn’t like the first 1 series but I really do like this one. It looks the part, plays the part and in typical BMW style it does so in impeccable fashion. I haven’t driven the new M135i that everyone is raving about but so far, I would say this 116i Sport Line is possibly the best value car in the range.

AM -


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