The Road Ahead : June 2013
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 50 THE ROAD AHEAD JUN/JUL 2013 MOTORING | NEW CAR REVIEW THE 118I IS the second-cheapest in BMW's new 1-series model line. Amongst our test car's 'optional extras' was a Sportline pack ($1600), which includes alternative pattern 17" alloys, trim detail enhancements and front sports seats. The latter are comfortably supportive, and the electric backrest width adjustment moves the bolsters in or out, allowing for a perfect torso- hugging 'fit'. BMW's chassis engineers have graced the rear-drive 118i with excellent dynamics, making the more curvaceous road home seem doubly attractive. It's communicative and feels nimble flowing through direction changes with ease and precision. There's lovely balance, plus crisp, linear steering KEY STATS MLP: $45,893 (auto)^ SAFETY: Dual front/front side head and thorax airbags, electronic stability/traction control, anti- lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, cornering brake control, front seatbelt pre- tensioners/force limiters. KEY FEATURES: Dual-zone climate- control, 17" alloys/runflat tyres, auto stop/start system, cruise control with braking function, bluetooth, CD, fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, rear park sensors, sports front seats, cloth trim, electronic differential lock. ENGINE: 1.6-litre, TwinPower turbo- petrol, 4-cyl. MAX. POWER: 125kW @ 4800rpm. MAX. TORQUE: 250Nm @ 1500- 4500rpm. 0-100 KM/H: N/A. 80 KM/H-STOP: N/A. FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 5.8 litres/100km. ANCAP CRASH RATING: EMISSIONS RATING: FOR: Nimble handling, safety, engine response, excellent auto box. AGAINST: Option prices, rear space, road noise. bmw 118i ^MANUFACTURER'S LIST PRICE. REVIEWS BY BARRY GREEN AND JOHN EWING. LET IT BE said that the new longer, wider and lower Beetle comes without a bud vase. It's all part of 'butching up' one of motoring's most iconic names and shapes to appeal to a broader ownership. Inside is a modern, practical and distinctive place to be. Colour accent panels to the dash and doors add appeal. However, the steering wheel tilt adjustment could do with some more height. Under the stylish exterior is not the same underpinnings as the newly-released Generation VII Golf, but the 2003 Gen V PQ35 platform -- minus its multi-link rear end. Instead, there's a semi-independent rear suspension. The result is ride and handling quality that is not entirely at ease on our bumpy back roads. The one powertrain on offer -- a 1.4-litre TSI twincharged (super and turbo) petrol engine -- is an energetic and responsive unit, though it loses some of its 'oomph' in propelling just over 1300kg in the Beetle (compare this with 1189kg for the Polo GTi). Our test car came with VW's well-proven, optional seven-speed DSG transmission. The Beetle is a four, not five-seater, so rear interior width is pretty good, though adult passengers might want for more headroom. Cargo capacity has increased, and ranges from 310 litres to 905 litres with split/folding rear bench folded (previously 209/769). There's an impressive standard equipment list. KEY STATS MLP: $33,490^ SAFETY: Dual front/side/curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, hill start assist, electronic stability/ traction control, front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters. KEY FEATURES: 17" alloys; six- stack CD player with MP3 capability, aux input, eight speakers, media interface and bluetooth; dual-zone climate-control airconditioning; cruise control; remote central locking; front/rear parking sensors; steering wheel audio/cruise controls; tilt and reach steering. ENGINE: 1.4-litre, twincharger petrol, 4-cyl. MAX. POWER: 118kW @ 5800rpm. MAX. TORQUE: 240Nm @ 1500- 4000rpm. 0-100 KM/H: 8.7sec (as tested). 80KM-STOP: 27.4m (as tested). FUEL (ADR FIGURE): 6.4litres/100km. ANCAP RATING: EMISSIONS RATING: FOR: Style, proven power/drivetrain. AGAINST: Spacesaver spare, fidgety ride. volkswagen a5 beetle response. The new, twin-scroll turbo engine and intuitive eight-speed auto are perfect partners. Gearbox shifts are smooth and barely apparent at low throttle openings. It's equally smooth, but with a firmer more positive feel, on harder acceleration. The engine is responsive through the rev range, with peak torque available from 1500rpm, and offers a level of performance that surprises and delights, given its modest 1.6-litre capacity. Rear passengers won't be so enamoured of available cabin space, with the centre position the worst. Tyre and road noise can be intrusive, and a lack of proximity entry seems out of step when the car features keyless start via a dash button.