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BMW 118i – a real BMW?

BMW cars are synonymous with rear-wheel drive, sporty performance and best-in-class handling. And suddenly this beautiful tradition was “disrupted” by the latest 1 Series, which BMW has decided to equip with a front-wheel drive! The latest BMW 118i cars have just arrived at PANEK Rent a Car, and this month we will be checking their driving and functional qualities. 

Back to front 

How did it come about that BMW decided to turn everything upside down and swap the order of the powered wheels on the Series 1? The classic would probably reply with singing words, “I don’t know.” The theory, however, is that customers choosing the smallest in the BMW range complained about its small spaciousness, and this translated into interest in the model. A city car should be a collection of the best features, such as spaciousness, convenience and roominess, and the legendary driving pleasure and exceptional cornering handling descend to the second or even third plan. Because how to feel it all standing in a traffic jam? Users expect versatility, and it is difficult to achieve it by stubbornly wading into an alley called “classic drive”, so engineers had to abandon their ideals to save the situation. It was decided that with the third generation of the model, the Series 1 would receive front-axle drive.

Space – new quality 

The silhouette of the car, compared to its predecessor, has significantly changed its proportions. The long front, under which until now the longitudinally placed engine was hidden, has become shorter, and the previously small cabin has gained in importance. Characteristic for the entire current model range, sharp body lines and a pronounced scuffline in the side line give the silhouette a distinctive character. Stylistically, the BMW 118i strongly resembles the larger 3-series, and is almost identical to the compact 2-series. The low roof line slopes gently to the rear, giving it a sporty flair.

The interior, in line with the long-standing philosophy of the Bavarian brand, is tailor-made. The cockpit is facing the driver, with all knobs and switches within easy reach. The front seats are sporty but comfortable. It is impossible to sit here like in a club chair, but the “One” is supposed to be a city hatchback, which still hides sports preferences.

Most of the changes took place at the rear of the cabin. In the latest Series 1, two adults will comfortably sit down, and they will certainly not complain about the lack of space for feet and knees. Only passengers over 180 cm tall may complain about the amount of headroom. In addition, passengers will be able to pack something more in the trunk than just cases with credit cards and toiletry bags. The trunk offers quite a good 380 liters of capacity and it must be admitted that this is a completely new quality in the Bavarian concern. In addition, the backrest of the couch is divided into 3 parts, so you can even try to pack sports equipment or skis inside. Such a well-thought-out design allows for a fairly free arrangement of the interior means that when you think about going skiing, you do not have to choose a higher-class car. This is a serious argument in favor of a compact BMW.

The BMW 118i, although it seems to contradict its classic sports genes in many elements, turns out to be an extremely handy companion for everyday driving, and the large amount of space generated thanks to the front drive allowed customers to look kindly at the model,who so far did not take into account the small BMW. In a week’s time we will present the driving characteristics of the BMW 118i and check whether the “missing” cylinder is contributing to the legendary driving pleasure.