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BMW 1 Series 118i 5-door hatch Review: Hitting from the baseline

This "entry-level" BMW is poised to give all aspiring BMW owners a step into the brand's ownership experience. Question is, is it good enough to sway most buyers into committing?
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
19 Aug 2008

Priced at $116,800 with COE, the entry level BMW has some pretty stiff competition in the compact family hatchback segment. Not surprisingly, the 118i’s most bitter rivals are its fellow Germans.

It’s hard not to compare Audi and BMW models these days, and so the 118i’s first close rival hails from Ingolstadt - the A3 Sportback. The Audi is hard to beat in most areas, especially when it comes with a list of goodies that include a powerful 1.8-litre turbo-charged engine hooked up to a brilliant S-Tronic gearbox. Plus it has an interior that's both well built and packaged.

The A3 has just been through a facelift though, and you’ll have to wait till later this year for the newer model to reach our shores.

Then there’s the Volkswagen from Wolfsburg - significantly cheaper than the 118i is the impressive Golf GT. Despite being only a 1.4-litre unit, the GT's potent twin-charged powerplant and 6-speed DSG combo will outrun the 118i at any time.

Costing just a few more grand than the 118i is the Golf GTI. Well, there’s nothing much to say about the GTI anymore - it's just wholesomely good. The GTI though, is due for a model change and the new sixth generation model will be here in the first half of 2009.

But at the end of the day, there are two elements that the Audi and Volkswagens lack when compared to the 118i – that highly desired BMW badge and every keen driver’s favourite rear-wheel drive configuration.

Credits: Story by Raymond Lai, pictures by M.H Sim

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BMW 1 Series 118i 5-door hatch
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BMW M Series 1 Series 118i 5-door hatch 2008
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BMW M Series 1 Series 118i 5-door hatch 2008

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