Review

BMW 118d in class of its own

Green wheels

BMW 118d

Credit: Carolyn Barry

Product details

Product name: BMW 118d

Reviewer: Carolyn Barry

Manufacturer: BMW

Price: $42,170

Size: 2L, 4 cylinder engine

G Rating:

5

There's a reason BMW's 118d sports hatch won the 2008 World Green Car of the year. Not only is it efficient, but it's just beautiful to drive.

This small car may just bring diesels back into vogue. Diesels have had a bit of a bad wrap in years past, and who could blame people for not wanting a vehicle that spews out pollution that you can literally see and smell?

But modern diesels are far superior to their previous generations and their pollution (in the form of smoggy particles and invisible NOx's) is greatly reduced by particulate filters, of which the BMW 118d has the one of the best (conforms to the more stringent EU5 standard, rather than the EU4 standard that Australia is still beholden to).

The sport hatch's fuel efficiency figures are impressive, at 4.5 L/100 km. But in a test drive, I easily achieved under that, without driving too much like a nana.

The engineering is solid, and the quality of the design and smooth, quiet driving feel make for an enjoyable drive. Open the sunroof and cruise swiftly around corners and you'll be laughing all the way.

Eco perks include BMW's 'efficient dynamics' design, which includes the same kind of auto start/stop function as the MINI diesel. Engage the clutch when the car is stopped and the gear in neutral and the engine automatically stops - saving you from wasting fuel. The engine seamlessly shuts down and the start-up is quite smooth - more so than the MINId.

Other efficient dynamics features include regenerative braking, electric power steering and a gear change indicator for the most fuel efficient time to shift gears.

For roughly the same cost as the Toyota Prius, it would be a tough call to pass it up in favour of the hybrid for green cred and style.

Quick stats:
Base price: $42,170 (6-speed manual)
Carbon equivalent emissions: 119 g/km
Fuel economy: 4.5 L/100km (combined highway/urban)
2 L, 4 cylinder engine
Modern diesel engine
Efficient dynamics (auto start/stop, brake energy regeneration, electric power steering, gear change indicator)
0-100km/h in 9 seconds

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