BMW 118 Review: 2011 Model | 118 | Car Buyers Guide

2011 BMW 118d Convertible Review

I'm a huge fan of our fabulous new motorway network. It seems to take two and a bit hours to get anywhere from Dublin these days, which is quite something - as those of you that remember it taking nearly four hours will appreciate. As mentioned earlier in this issue motorways are proven to be the safest roads despite higher average speeds. That's thanks to limited, specially designed junctions and of course the lack of oncoming traffic. Another massive benefit of them, so far as enthusiasts are concerned, is that smaller roads have never been so deserted. With that in mind we headed for The Vee near Clogheen in Co. Tipperary (a favoured driving road of ours) to try out the latest BMW 1 Series Convertible.


BMW has just introduced a raft of new model year updates for the 1 Series and these have been applied to the Coupé and Convertible too. Our test car was the 118d version, in M Sport trim. Unlike its bigger relatives, the 1 Series M Sport doesn't shout about its sporting aspirations. The body is subtly different to the regular car's and it wears a set of alloys that are neither particularly big, nor sporty.


However, the simplicity suits the Convertible model. While it looks a little dumpy with the fabric roof up, stow it away (at the touch of a button) and the 1 Series is transformed into a really elegant car that draws admiring looks. In spite of the attention it attracts it's not a brash car, just attractive.


The M Sport trim does mean you get a lovely leather steering wheel and short gear lever, while the leather fitted to our test car lifted the ambience further. Though we could do without the body-coloured plastic trim. This may be the cheapest open-topped BMW money can buy, but it doesn't feel like you're scraping the bottom of the automotive barrel - it's a high quality purchase.


Some may question the decision to offer this car in 118d format, but it's a cracking little car. Admittedly, really keen drivers will find it lacking in grunt. It has 145hp backed up by a useful 300Nm of torque, but the meaty power band is all too narrow and there's not really enough shove there to un-stick the rear tyres without severe provocation. That aside, it's as engaging as any other BMW, with great balance and a degree of adjustability mid-corner. The steering isn't overflowing with information, but it's pleasingly direct and it's partnered by a slick gearshift and good brakes.


Although this car has the M Sport suspension it's not at all uncomfortable. In keeping with the rest of the car it soaks up most bumps and bad road surfaces quite well, while keeping the body nice and level, even under duress.


It's worth mentioning that BMW's engineers have cleverly managed to disguise the diesel engine noise a lot of the time. It just doesn't sound like a diesel normally does, even when being revved. And there's stop-start as standard to shut the engine down when you're stopped in traffic, so you rarely hear it then either. That system helps the 118d achieve a barely believable 4.8 litres/100km on the combined cycle, while its CO2 emissions figure of 127g/km places it in Band B for cheap road tax. You may want to omit the '118d' badge from the boot lid though. It takes from the image a tad.


Naturally, by opting for a soft-top instead of a coupé you're compromising on refinement. At speed, with the roof raised, there is much more wind noise than in a hard-topped car. That's another reason to lower the roof and take the back road whenever the opportunity arises. We highly recommend it.




BMW 118d M Sport Convertible



1,995cc turbodiesel 4-cyl


Output @ RPM

145hp@4,000, 300Nm@1,750 - 2,500rpm



6-sp manual RWD



0-100km/h 9.5 seconds


Top Speed




4.8 Litres/100km


CO2 Emissions



CO2 Tax Band

B €156 p.a.





Boot Capacity



Base Price



Price as Tested



On Sale




Quality, elegance, economy



Needs more power






Login to leave a comment

Login with Facebook Login with Twitter