IN KASIE lingua it is revered as ‘ithemba lamagumsha’ (preferred by thugs) or Be My Wife and any other superlatives associated with the BMW brand.
Its so celebrated that kids as young as 5 whistled and ooohd as I took the latest BMW 118i M Sport for a drive. Yes, ‘it feels cool’ they agreed in unison, with jaws dropped.
It is powered by a 3-cylinder, 1.5-litre turbopetrol engine with 103 kW and 220 Nm of torque and mated with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that drives front wheels.
Impressed by its both black leather interior (always) and cabin, the F40-generation car’s infotainment system is a significant step up. The BMW Live Cockpit Plus is standard and includes features such as a Touch Controller, navigation system, two USB ports for data transfer and a WiFi interface. The control display is 8.8-inch and features a touchscreen, whilst the instrument cluster has a 5.7-inch colour display.
With the Start/Stop button and gear selector lever now also located in the control panel in the lower section of the centre console, all the controls relating to driving functions are clustered together in one area. This includes the iDrive Touch Controller used to control the infotainment system.
Available driver assistance gadgets include Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function and BMW’s Driving Assistant with Lane Change Warning, Rear Collision Warning and Crossing Traffic Warning. Safety is paramount on any BMW brands.
Other gizmos available on the 1 Series for the first time are the BMW Digital Key and BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant with smart voice control.
In front of the selector lever is a storage area which can be specified with the Wireless Charging option for smartphones, but what if you do not own one- “its your problem” quipped my Cuz.
This is the F40 -generation 1 Series, which has switched to a front-wheel-drive platform and only petrol-powered- believe it or not… as it claimed zero to 100 kph at 8.5 seconds with a top speed of 213 kph, as we did the country’s Capital –Pretoria for an assignment.
In Comfort or Sport mode, drive is split as required, while keeping fuel consumption as low as possible. Cruise Control with braking function is standard where as Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go is available as an option.
The premium hatchback is funkier, more youthful appeal to BMW’s increasingly conservative and upmarket 3 Series sedan, which has become out of reach for many consumers who want to buy into the Bavarian brand.
This newcomer is available exclusively as a 5-door hatchback. Front- and rear occupants are availed 42 mm and 13 mm extra elbow room respectively, but, more importantly, aft passengers benefit from an additional 33 mm of knee room and 19 mm of headroom (if the outward-opening sliding panoramic sunroof is specified).
The Bimmer’s luggage capacity has increased by an additional 20 litres (my four traveling bags all fit). The total now sits at 380 litres, but if you fold the 40/20/40 rear seats down, you gain access to 1 200 litres of utility space.
At 4319mm in length, the new 1 Series is 5mm shorter than its predecessor, but 34mm wider and 13mm taller, and the exterior design draws many cues from X2 crossover. Of course, because the 1 Series is a new BMW, its grille is and still, a hot topic for many BMW aficionados, including those big Mamas who kept asking for selfies repeatedly and law enforcement officers promising lunch, dinner et al …
The new 1 Series is available with a wide range of new light-alloy wheels, including – for the first time – the option of wheels with a diameter of 48.26cm. The SE model has 16-inch light-alloy wheels as standard.
The Sport models feature 17-inch light-alloy wheels whilst the M Sport moves up to 18-inch light-alloy wheels as standard.
The only snag: not enough charging stations especially when not using top of the range gadget.
The hatchback model retails for R 480 897
Performance 1-10 (9)
Fuel 1-10 (8)
Image SLM (The all new BMW 118i M Sport ticks all the boxes a Bavarian brand should).