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What the BMW 116i Engine Can Say About You?

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BMW 1 Series

Top notch interior quality, the premier body designing from both inside and out, and the extra muscular engine makes the BMW 116i a fun to drive.

It’s a very famous saying that the car we drive can say a lot about us. Yes, it is true. The car you drive describes your choice, taste and class. The luxurious car you drive, the more attracting you will be. Choosing a sturdy and eye-catching car is a little bit difficult thing.

Brief history of BMW:

BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) is the German opulent automobile and motorcycle engines manufacturing company founded in 1916. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, BMW is utilizing the best technology and experience to satisfy its customers from the time of its origin and till now.

The list of the vehicles made by BMW is really very lengthy but we are going to discuss BMW 116i from the 1 series. The BMW 1 series is a series of small luxury cars made by BMW since 2004. Successor to BMW compact, the 1 series has been produced in four different body styles and is in its second generation. From 1 series, our choice is the energetic, BMW 116i.


The older generation of 1 series was sold in massive numbers just because of the fact that it delivered driving thrills, fantastic range of engines and a luxurious cabin but all the models were blamed to be less spacious from rear. As compared to the predecessors, the newer generation is more practical in terms of rear room.

The new 1 series gets a much classier and smoother look, with curvaceous headlights and flowing lines replacing the rigid and bold shape of the previous model. The back seats are emphasized by a cleaner set of tail-lights and character lines. With a 30mm longer wheelbase and 360 liters of boot space, the BMW 116i is quite roomy car but still the adults sitting at the back seats find them little cramped.

It’s really ironic how price and positioning alter the perception towards a specific body style of vehicles. Let’s discuss about hatchbacks. Most of the people buy hatchbacks because they are cheap to purchase and run with majority owners desiring to upgrade to a bigger vehicle as a hatchback doesn’t transfer any prestige.

Although in the premium segment, luxury car manufacturers are trying to lure consumers to their fold with their premium hatchback offerings, which are the cheapest way of owning a German brand too. While the hatchback segment is booming greatly in Europe, even for the cars like the BMW 1-Series, in India the situation is somewhat different. After having operated the 1-Series diesel last year, we now obtain behind the wheel of the petrol variant, the smart 116i, to gauge if it has the sporty quotient to lure petrol-heads.

As hatchbacks go the 1 Series is really impressive. It has a functional, very well-built cabin with loads of space in the rear for passengers as well as sensible, well picked trim levels. The model test takers tested was in Sport trim, which involves 17-inch wheels, some further exterior detailing, leather sports, sports seats, steering wheel and black interior trim along with red highlights.

Optional extras also include DAB digital radio, folding external mirrors, a driver comfort package with cruise control and active parking sensors and interior comfort pack marking dual-zone air con and some lighting and storage extras.

Interior of the mighty BMW 116i:

Interior is just excellently built up according to the tradition of BMW. The cabin of BMW 116i is spacious enough to comfort you. The switch gear is solid and chunky and the materials like soft-touch dashboard feel very upper market. There is sufficient advance technology which includes adaptive cruise control, Internet access plus lane assist.

The sport model includes Bluetooth, air-con, a 6.5-inch color display, a leather-trimmed sports steering wheel as standard.

Performance of BMW 116i:

The BMW 116i utilizes a strong 1.6-litre engine along with direct injection and turbocharging to output 136 BHP of adequate power at 4400 RPM and 220 Nm of torque probably between 1350-4300 RPM. Turbo lag is nearly negligible and thus one can amble around town comfortably. The torque band is rather wide and the peak of the twisting force is accessible right from 1350 RPM, providing the 1-Series petrol a very sturdy mid-range.

With good low-end poke, drivability is exceptional and there is no actual spot in the power band which one can call weak. The motor itself is terrifically refined and only displays their wild sides post 3500 RPM, where it initiates to sound vocal, releasing a raspy snarl around its 6500 RPM redline.

The bold 116i revs very freely and fastly with power delivery being simply linear all throughout. The vehicle is matched to an 8-speed ZF automatic (non-manual) gearbox which offers blitz shifts. There are mainly three modes on offer – Comfort, Eco Pro and Sport, with different settings changing the engine response and the gear shift time (holds gears longer).

While the BMW 116i is certainly not the fastest vehicle at its price point, it sure is swift and reaching 180 km/hr is a breeze along with the top speed being 210 km/hr. 0-100 km/hr requires 8.74 seconds as per our VBOX run which is impressively quick for a car of this power. One can comfortably cruise on the highways with just 100 km/hr in top gear perhaps resulting in 1700 RPM on the tacho.

The stylish 116i returns a mileage of 9-10 km/l in the city, extending to 12 km/l on the highway. There is also a start-stop system which test takers found to be quite intrusive as it shuts the car as soon as one come to a halt.

Driving Dynamics:

While the world is gradually shifting to more economical and lighter platforms of front-wheel drive, the smart 1-Series continues to channel power to its back wheels but not for long as the next generation 1 will surely share its underpinnings basically with the new MINI (UKL platform), thereby going to a front-wheel drive architecture. Rear wheel drive has its own merits and it shows.

The 1-Series is only a hoot to drive, proposing terrific balance through the tightest of bends and corners. Handling is just precise and super sharp and, with every single turn being a laser guided point and perfect shoot action. In fact, even though BMW has now moved to electro-mechanical power steering, the 1-Series keeps on feeling like a go-kart, one sit low and pilot the car managing a super sharp steering. The 116i three settings (ECO PRO, Comfort and Sport) also differ the weight at the helm, the steering becoming immensely heavy on Sport mode, making high-speed feedback very much rich.

The steering is elegantly light at low speeds so maneuvering the vehicle in congested city conditions isn’t that much of a task. Regardless of being a sporty model (the 1-Series boasts of 50:50 weight distribution), BMW has gained a fantastic ride quality on their entrance-level hatchback. When test takers drove the diesel, they appreciated the good ride of the car and the petrol is rather better.

Running on 55 profile rubber (the diesel they drove had lower 45 profile tyres), the 116i drives very maturely. It remains glued to the wide road at high speeds, where one can switch directions in nano seconds, the 116i is surely so quick and confident. On few bad roads, the car does get a little bit bouncy but that is only post triple digit speeds. The performance of BMW 116i is excellent, the pedal has huge bite and the 1-Series quickly stops with surety in all road conditions.

Our verdict:

The BMW 1-Series is a very engaging car to drive and in spite of all being an entry-level offering, it’s really practical too, offering a decently big and wide cabin, a large boot and nice ride quality. However look past all these things and one feel a bit disappointed.

While the base 116i is priced delightfully, it doesn’t even have characteristics which the world’s cheapest car comes mainly with as standard. The top trim is only obtainable in diesel and that car costs about as much as a 3-Series. Thus the petrol 1-Series doesn’t create a strong case for its own self.

Its limited audience is particularly those who want a BMW on a restrictive budget and are ready to live with the bare basic equipment in exchange for the ultimate driving experience in the segment. Having the steering of BMW 116i in your hand, everybody will love to see you drive.

The BMW 116i is unequivocally the best car with elegant body design, well-constructed interior and extra smooth engine under the bonnet. You must buy this little monster if you want to impress everybody near you. So, what do you think about the BMW 116i now?

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