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The BMW 1 Series 118i hatchback may be an entry level model, but it is a pretty delightful car to pilot.

15 Nov 2019

For the new BMW 1 Series, we've driven the diesel 118d and the top-range M135i. Here, we have the petrol 118i, the entry point to the 1 Series that will also be available in Singapore.

And they all share one good thing - they're great cars to drive.

So what's different here?

What we drove in South Africa is the 118i M Sport variant - which comes with bumpers and trims similar to the M135i, and lowered M Sport suspension.

With the exception of the kidney grille, the 118i M Sport closely resembles the M135i at the front

There are ample features on the inside. Digital gauge displays are standard (Singapore gets the larger 10.25-inch Live Cockpit Professional), as well as an iDrive infotainment system running the latest 7.0 firmware. It too comes with BMW's Personal Assistant, for voice-activated commands.

Cabin materials are well put together too, with a good mix of soft-touch plastics and polished metal fittings. Elsewhere, there's more space for three passengers in the rear, along with a larger 380-litre boot.

Across all variants of the BMW 1 Series, there's improved legroom and headroom for rear passengers

This certainly helps to bring this car closer to being a purposeful hatchback with practicality added to the mix.

Good to drive?

The 118i sports a three-cylinder, 1.5-litre turbocharged lump that produces 138bhp and a hearty 220Nm of torque.

And if the numbers do not impress, getting behind the wheel certainly will. The 118i certainly can pull a quick corner without a fuss, and remains suitably planted and responsive through fast B-roads around Johannesburg.

The 118i is just as good to drive compared to the rest of the 1 Series range, and doesn't feel very much like an entry-level variant

For what is worth, the 118i doesn't offer an entry-level drive, and that is a big win for what is the first front-wheel drive 1 Series.

Is this the hatchback to get?

We reckon it is. The BMW 1 Series doesn't do as well in first impressions compared to other premium offerings like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback, but it is incredibly good-natured and then some.

Even if it is other variants of the 1 Series, like the 118i Sport Line (pictured), you can be assured that it is the only hatchback you'll ever need

With a high level of practicality, a well thought-out interior, and a solid drive, the 118i is certainly the hatchback for you.

Because these are the areas where it matters the most - for you, the driver.
Also read our comparison article on:
BMW 1 Series vs Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Car Information



: -

Engine Type


3-cylinder in-line TwinPower Turbocharged

Engine Cap





103kW (138 bhp) / 6500 rpm



220 Nm / 4200 rpm



7-speed (A) Steptronic DCT

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption


16.9 km/L

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car review  bmw  1  series  1 series  118i  bmw 1 series  bmw 118i  bmw 1 series 118i  hatchback