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

Story by Raymond Lai, pictures by M.H Sim
19 Aug 2008

The 118i is currently the cheapest way to enter the motoring world of the Blue Propeller

Aesthetically speaking

In recent years, the cheapest way to go motoring in a BMW was in a 3 Series with a relatively tiny 2-litre engine. At around $130k to $140k, the 320i wasn’t exactly affordable for most people and many aspiring BMW owners will have to give it a past until the day they win the lottery.

Now there’s a cheaper way of becoming a BMW owner, all thanks to the introduction of a base model 1 Series – the 118i. The 118i is the only 1 Series variant that is available in five-door body style, making it the family man’s 1 Series. The other 1 Series models available officially are the 120i Convertible, 125i Coupe and the three-door hatch 130i.

The five-door hatch body style isn’t exactly the most pretty 1 Series body shape, as that honour already went to the Coupe. The nose still looks awkward thanks to those overtly large headlamps, while the sides are an extreme interpretation of Chris Bangle’s "Flame Surfacing" design ethos. On another note, do those rear seem familiar to you? Hmm...

The 118i runs on smaller wheels than the rest of the 1 Series range, and it doesn’t seem to do any justice for the looks department – honestly, this is one car that needs big wheels to fill those big arches for a more proportioned look and stance, and what we see fitted here, just doesn’t look right.

Inside, it’s the same fare as the other models at the front, bar the deletion of sports seats. At the rear, there isn’t much space thanks to the car’s rear-wheel drive packaging – a Golf will trump over the 118i in this department. The boot though, is well sized and shaped, and can also be expanded simply by folding the rear seats.

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Engine Capacity 1995cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 12:1
Bore x Stroke (90 x 84)mm
Power 136bhp @ 5750rpm
Torque 180Nm @ 3250rpm
Power to Weight 98.2 bhp per ton


Acceleration 10.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 204 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 13.7 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Auto Tiptronic
Drive Type FR


Body Type 5 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4239 x 1934 x 1421) mm
Wheelbase 2660 mm
Turning Circle 10.7 metres
Kerb Weight 1385 kg
Boot Capacity 330 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 53 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs