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Good entry level compact driver's car

2012 125i coupe manual, with some Msport catalogue options. Bought 3rd hand at 55,000kms now done 70K. Routine servicing only, no mechanical problems to date.

It is my wife's daily driver. She finds it refined, civilised, compact on the road, the engine effortless in its delivery.

My impressions however are strictly those of someone who cares a lot about driving, so I accept mine is not a mainstream perspective, but for the nerdy drivers out there considering a 1er in this spec, you may find this valuable.

Positives -
ENGINE- the N52 3.0 is a gem, does service in lots of BMW products. Silky smooth and cultured in its delivery and note. Linear throttle response, engine will dribble along at 1000rpm on light throttle with no labouring, or sing happily up to the redline. No torque holes, and note hardens nicely above 5000rpm. Standard exhaust does mute the engine note quite a bit I suspect. A wilful and flexible unit which feels completely unstressed. BMW inline sixes are superb.

RWD -BMW built a brand around compact rear drive cars powered by atmo 6 engines, even though the future looks different. The rear end is stable and grippy when you want but will also rotate easily with a prod of throttle into a few degrees of oversteer before the TC intervenes and cuts power. TC off and its not difficult to induce some pretty big slip angles at the rear. That's all a bit irrelevant most of the time, but through the seat of the pants its still clear that drive is coming from the rear, and this of course allows the front axle to deal with steering alone and not be corrupted by drive also - seems to make a lot of sense really!

GEARBOX - the 6spd manual is a significant contributor to the car's character. The autos are super smooth and match the 6 beautifully, I acknowledge that, but the manual provides interaction the auto can never offer. It's a rubbery, springy shift, the throw is short and positive but does require a firm action. The gearbox action is not a lightweight, it has some heft to it. Coupled with that engine, it's hard not to heal and toe rev match even when cruising around town.

Criticisms-
STEERING - BMW's old hydraulically assisted racks were dripping with feedback and beautifully weighted, far superior to the electrically assisted rack on this car. The weight is still there, but it feels laid on, synthetic. Additionally, the steering actually increases in weight as speeds rise when turning, which I find disconcerting and frustrating. There is not a lot of clarity of communication between the tyres and steering wheel. Looks great though, and compact and chunky to hold.

SUSPENSION - firm and well insulated from most surfaces, the car gives the impression of a sporting nature at normal speeds. The 18inch Sport catalogue wheels with runflats however are susceptible to crashing over larger lumps and compressions on the road, and this is sometimes transmitted into the body and cabin. The runflats will be replaced with conventional tyres when due, and this should improve ride quality. The cars works well up to 7/10ths, after which point strange things happen. The body and suspension lose their synchronicity and the car can end up pogo-ing and lurching down the road. The suspension simply cannot cope with the demands of a challenging road driven at speed, with rapid vertical inputs throwing the car out of balance and steering, braking and composure all suffering as a result. So you back off to 7/10ths and everything works nicely again.

So for a mass market compact that is well engineered, civilised in nature, with a lovely powertrain, I'd recommend this car. Just don't expect the finesse of a Toyota 86 or Fiesta ST in the hills on a Sunday blast.

Purchased in January 2018.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Noise Level
TransmissionManual
BoughtUsed
Year2012
Performance
Acceleration / Power
Handling
Braking
Suspension
Gear Shifting
Fuel Efficiency
Design
Interior Design
Boot Size
Features
Comfort

M140i LC1

Have had the 140i for coming up on 2 years, on buying this i wanted a old school rear wheel drive with good power. It hasn't disappointed. Im fussy with my cars and will pick the hell out of a car. I love every 99% of this car, the power is unbelievably good, smooth and right through the rev range, from around 1500rpm its pushing you into the seat all the way to redline. The gear box is awesome, i really wanted a manual but in the model i brought it wasnt availabe so the 8 speed auto is what i ended up with and im not disappointed. One thing it lacked was an LSD and my opinion it needs it, to the point where i had one fitted. Stepping out of a VF SS Commodore i do miss the space of a large car. You wouldnt want to be much taller then 6ft with this car, whilst it has leg room dodging the pillar to get in takes a bit of getting used to. And again general cabin space took a bit of getting used to. All in all anyone who wants a fun car to drive i would recommend the little 140, its spirited small car that needs to be driven and will go down in history. Was listed as number 1 hot hatch of all time in a reputable car magazine recently with the SS Torana coming in second. Thats a big statement.

Excellent car - very reliable

Excellent car. Very reliable and economical, It has plenty of torque and smooth ride for long trips. Rear leg room is a bit tight. My car has been driven over 180K and I had to clean the intake manifold and replace the DPF. Use after market as BMW charges $3 to 4K for a replacement. Ali Express and eBay has many vendors of people selling DPF's. I have had the car regularly serviced and it has been very reliable. City economy is around 6.5 to 7.5 L/100.
Highway at 110 kmh is around 5.2 to 5.6 L/100 depending on road surface, winds and rain.

BodyHatch
Badge123d
Line(No Line)
Engine Size2.0
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedDec 2010

Best car!

I’ve bought my125i back in 2014 with 30000+km on the clock. BM came chip tuned and with varex exhaust - this was worried me at the beginning. It have currently 150000km on the clock and have only 2 minor problems. One is the lumbar support which was not kept the air (warranty covers) and second right LED tail light lost brightness (outside of the warranty and could reported as common issues and bad design) had to replace for $300.
Original brake pads and rotors replaced with reputable aftermarket brand. Original wearing off very quickly.
I’m recommend this car and definitely will refreshing this within next couple of years. For the owners I’ll recommend to service it more frequently than it’s recommended by BMW - change oil every 10k not 20k as recommended.

BodyHatch
Badge125i
LineSport Line
Engine Size2.0
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedAug 2014

Excellent car, has it all, very comfortable with great headroom

Love this car, it has great power, comfort, handling and safety. It's also got a great navigation system with voice control. Can't fault this car at all to be honest. It also seems to have more headroom than other vehicles and is a pleasure to go on holiday trips with.

BodyHatch
Badge118d
Line(No Line)
Engine Size1.6
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedApr 2015

Love this car

Always been a fan of European vehicles, so glad I purchased this car. It is very reliable, and is super fuel efficient. I used to have a petrol Fiesta and I spent $70 a week on fuel, now I only spend $70 a fortnight!!! Very spacious in the back for a hatchback so it is fine with the kids. Has never given me any issues, and is really zippy and quick off the mark. Love it!!

BodyHatch
Badge120d
LineM Sport
Engine Size2.0
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedOct 2017

Awesome driving experience

If you want a rear wheel small hatchback with plenty of refinement, comfort, safety then consider a BMW 1 series. I had a 2005 120i and it was economical, reliable and incredibly enjoyable to drive. The rear wheel drive enhanced the feel of stability on the road. Servicing cost were within normal limits for car the same age. A very fun,stylish and refined driving experience

BodyHatch
Badge120i
LineSport
Engine Size1.6
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedNov 2016

Great little city car and gentle on the petrol...A+

Driving experience is great with flat run tyres and iDrive. Mine is a diesel so a bit more grunt.
Queenslanders BEWARE when I bought mine from Townsville BMW (sent to Brisbane) I asked 15 times is it a 2015 on the compliance plates - yes its a 2015.
They paid the first years rego so the following year when I got the rego car is 2014! They can lie in Queensland as the model is 'considered a 2015' because that's when it arrived in Australia. No other state in Australia can a dealer get away with it.

Took the shine of the car but I still love it.

BodyHatch
Badge118d
LineM Sport
Engine Size2.0
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedMar 2015

Ultimate driving machine, it is!

I have now owned this car for almost a year and have just completed my first service, so I think it is time to share my thoughts on Product Review. Well, the car had been a blast to drive - there you have it.

Okay, if you're still reading, this is the longer version. You feel a sense of happiness when he first approach the car, admiring its nice curves and the long bonnet. When seated inside, you see the bonnet goes on for an infinity like a sports car. Internally, the car feels more spacious than competitors in the small hatchback segment. I have the Dakota leather seat option and upgraded multi-media which I strongly recommend as it completes the internal feel of the car. No point to spend all the cash you saved up for a premium car when you skip the leather seats and other posh options right?

I have the new 1.5L three pot engine and it doesn't feel anything like it's under-powered. I think they tuned the car perfectly for Australia. Even fuel consumption is good after the run in period as I managed to get nearly 680km on a full tank when driving sedately but it drops to about 500km with some spirited driving.

The car is planted and edges you to take corners at higher speeds than you would in other cars. I have driven it to its limit (safety of course and within road rules) and the car can still give more - so you will never do more than what it can handle unless you break the road rules. There were a few occasions when my arms and lower back felt numb after a long drive (about 250km). I think the cushion on the seats are not as supportive as their competitors and the run flat tyres transmit a lot of the undulations back to the steering. The higher the speed, the more you find the steering fighting with you, but on the whole, this is a consummate driver's car.

The service with BMW was good and a minor complaint I had was resolved and did not seem to occur again. I am generally happy with the car and I never ever considered a BMW, but I have never looked back since. This car has good torque for a small engine and steers well - puts a smile on your face from start to end of the journey. My only caution to a prospective buyer is that this car is a city driver and long journeys are best left to cars designed for it.

BodyHatch
Badge118i
LineUrban Line
Engine Size1.5L
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedMay 2017

I am going to love my partners new BMW

Great car runs well like handling on road like luxurious, interior car is being serviced so only had a short drive so far. It is my partners car and is at the mechanics as I mentioned Black very smart and easy to park I have not yet had a highway drive at 100kph but my partner has and it ran beautifully.

BodyHatch
Badge116d
Lineunknown
Engine Size2.0
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedFeb 2018

BMW Series 1 with extras

No other car in the same price range can compare to the handling of a BMW. I love the interior as I have the upgraded interior beige leather seats and the wooden trim, heated seats and sunroof - feels luxury, comfortable and definitely worth the money. The running costs are cheap! The car is very economical in terms of petrol. However, the best part of the BMW has to be the navigation system, self-parking features and reverse camera. Second BMW owned to date but best one yet!

BodyHatch
Badge118i
LineUrban Line
Engine Size1.6
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedAug 2017

Rear wheel with Agile Movement

I have the M sport package, it has good performance, love the acceleration, and you can hear a very deep bass exhaust noise. Great for lady driver.
The interior is pretty similiar to all BMWs, its very solid. but the only down side is going through speed bumps i can hear some weird noise coming from the car, like plastic-y sound falling apart. But it didn't bothers me.
Its a lady driver, so not much wear and tear, fuel consumption is 11.5L/100km in urban area on 95 fuel.

BodyHatch
Badge125i
LineM Sport
Engine Size2.0
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedJun 2017

Very suitable car for a young single person

Bmw has one of the best driving experiences. The engine is much more durable than that of Audi. My car luckily has the updated interior look (glass display) that is so similar to higher series. This is one of its best thing. It is nothing inferior to bmw 3 series. Mine has a Sport style package with black piano trim though. Everything of the car is way more durable compared to my Audi A6. You can push it hard it doesn't break that easy. I have replaced the RFT with conventional ones and have more driving comfort and fuel economy. 4L/100km hwy, 7l suburban, and 8.5l city, 7.5 combined after I changed the bloody RFT. 118i is much stronger than 116i. The car is slow 0-30km, ok 30-45km but very fast 45km/h upwards. Twin turbo engine is a legend. The place I bought it was [Word Removed] though.

BodyHatch
Badge118i
LineSport Line
Engine Size1.6
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedOct 2016

Love this car

It has the best navigation system I have ever used in a car. It has all the functionality that a new car has - the automatic features like lights, windows, windscreens, voice control, electric seats, sensors and rear cameras. Would not go to another car brand since hopping on the BMW wagon.

BodyHatch
Badge118i
LineSport
Engine Size1.6
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedMay 2017

A ripper

The 125i has about 160kw and handles like a go kart. Great fun to drive and can be pushed Sadly RWD is being replaced with FWD and I don't think they will be the same. Leather interior is well finished, outside trim is a step up from the 120i and looks really smart. The car is a pleasure to drive short and longer distances. Road and wind noise well within reasonable limits. Suspension handles the car will.
The not so good..nothing! We really enjoy the car. It's fun, looks great, and is well put together (so far anyway).

BodyHatch
Badge125i
LineM Sport
Engine Size2.0
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedSep 2016

Great handling, otherwise rubbish. Dont buy the hype about German Engineering...get a Toyota or Mazd

The Good
Great audio. Seriously even the professional package has superb sound.
Great seats. Front seats are very support, very comfortable and very adjustable. So you'll have no issues finding the right seating position.
Nice touches like holding down the lock button on the remote closes the windows remotely. Or on a hot day holding down the open button opens the windows and sunroof to get hot air out of the car before you get in.
If you like to really drive a car you'll appreciate the balance on the limit, directional stability and feedback through the very direct steering. This car feels rock solid on the road, with very little body roll through corners.

it could do with a bit more power though when overtaking. Runs out of steam at higher revs.

The Bad.
The back seats are really only suitable for pets, children, dwarves or double amputees. Boot space is tiny...seriously tiny.

The electrics are flaky...windscreen wipers just stopped in the middle of the screen...had to actually pull over, turn the car off, pull the key out of the dash and restart the car to get them working again. You'd think it was running Microsoft Windows! The rear window washer doesnt work....the insides have clogged up with silt...actually its rust from the tube through the window wiper mechanism.

The Ugly.
This car is rubbish mechanically, The differential bearings started howling like an old Falcon taxi at 85,000Km. The wheel bearings have only just made it beyond 85,000km.

Engine has O rings in the back that leak water and have to be replaced every 30,000 to 40,000km. Sump gasket leaks oil and there's another oil leak I haven't tracked down yet. Apparently this is entirely normal for the E87 4 Cylinders.. just Google it. Oh, theres also the excessive oil consumption, apparently the Valve Stem Seals are rubbish...and was a BMW specialist telling me that. Update 2018, car has now clocked up 140,000km. Blows smoke after sitting at traffic lights. BM specialist confirms Valve Stem seals...AT 140K!!!! Even a Lada could get better mileage out of valve stem seals. This car is complete junk!

Please bare in mind as I write this my car has only just clocked up 116,600Km! My Mazda 3 was still purring like a kitten and had no leaks, no bearing failures and no warranty issues at the same mileage.

To add insult to injury. The dumbest invention since the invention of the wheel...the Run Flat Tyre.

Reality is you cant actually drive this to a repair shop and have a puncture plugged, even if the tyre manufacturer allowed the tyre to be repaired. The tyre will be a write-off due to damage to the side walls. The advice I've had is as little as 50m driving on a deflated Run Flat will destroy the side walls. Pull over immediately and repair or replace the tyre. Which is made a little difficult, because the geniuses at BMW in their wisdom didn't put a jack or wheel brace in the tool kit. So you pull over to save the tyre, but you cant get the wheel off to take to a repairer...cant drive it to the repairer without destroying the tyre. And heres the great bit, the tyres are up to 50% more expensive than a normal tyre. If you can find someone with them in stock! If you in the city that's not an issue.

Smart decision is to ditch the RFTs for normal tyres and put a tin of slime in the boot, at least that will get you to a Tyre repairer without a jack, you'll save a bit of cash and have a nicer ride quality without sacrificing the handling.

Smarter decision... just dont buy a BMW. Dont buy the crap myth of German engineering, that Japanese are way ahead of this junk.

BodyHatch
Badge120i
Line(No Line)
Engine Size2.0
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedMay 2015

An exceptionally accomplished car. Best in class.

I used to work as a driver at Avis, so I have driven nearly every single car model in the world, including the original BMW 1-series. The original 1-series was ugly and very 80's in its interior. BMW has certainly fixed that with the F20 where the interior was the main reason I bought the car. Granted, there are a few areas of hard plastic (The glove box in particular along with a panel under the middle console and the 1-8 radio buttons) but the overall feel inside the cockpit is really, really impressive and well beyond my earlier favourite which was the Audi A3. Black leather and black, soft plastic along with a string red Sport line, red stitching on the wheel and silver trimmings make the interior reminiscent of high end Bang & Olufsen designer audio - and that is exactly what I look for. It really is a work of art and getting into the car is like putting on a snug tuxedo.
My car has the sport package and the fantastic 8 speed auto which I can wholeheartedly recommend, although I usually prefer manuals.
The engine is cracking and has 220nm of torque. 0-100 in 8.5 seconds is ok, but the car is no sprinter. Instead, the torque allows your to overtake uphill effortlessly and at 0-60 the car is actually really fast if it is in Sport mode. ECO Plus is a fuel saving mode which I never use - the gas response is simply too slow to be of any use. I leave the car in comfort mode and switch into Sport when I get on a windy country road. I should note that the engine sound is pretty average, but the turbo can be easily heard in Sport mode - which helps.
The biggest drawback is the limited space in the rear seats, but I don't care as I usually drive the car by myself only. I did have to pick up my folks form the airport with my wife and with their luggage the car was completely full.

I have owned the car for more than a year now and couldn't be happier. As I mentioned in the beginning; I have tried almost every car out there and I can comfortably say that a BMW 1-series is the very best in its class. No doubt about it. Go for the 116i - Yes, the 118, 120 and 125 of course the M135 are all faster, but diminishing returns say that the best buy is a 116i with automatic transmission.
Get one with leather interior as it really lifts the whole quality of the car.

BodyHatch
Badge116i
LineSport
Engine Size1.6
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedNov 2015

The perfect small, "family" sports car

The 135i is possibly the perfect small, "family" sports car. The straight 6 3 litre twin turbo engine pulls smoothly and extremely powerfully all the way through the rev range. I drove the 2008 V8 M3 recently, and 135 pocket rocket felt at least it's equal, particularly at lower revs.
Handling is very precise, and as with the performance, very impressive. The brakes, albeit with a bit of squeaking, and also very capable. With a manual gear box it a very quick, capable drivers car.
The interior is BMW bland, high quality and functional.
It has 4 seats; front sporty and supportive, back reasonable for 2 adults (probably-I didn't actually spend any time there!).
The boot is big for a small car, and although you might not be able to fit all your suit cases in for a family of four to the airport, it is more than adequate for most family needs.
Fuel economy is not on its extensive list of attributes, doing between 11-12 l/100km in normal, ok, spirited, town driving.
I have had mine for a few years now, and coming up to 100000km, remains highly dependable, with no issues in that time.
Especially in manual guise, this a truly exciting, fun, capable, practical sports, which I would thoroughly recommend.

BodyCoupe
Badge135i
LineM Sport
Engine Size3.0
TransmissionManual
Date PurchasedMar 2015

Worst car ever!!!

We bought this car in 2007. It started leacking engine oil from the very begining but we were told the truth (by BMW) in 2010 just after its warrenty was expired. Then the gearbox sterted leaking a couple of years later. BMW charged us $2500 to fix both leakings. Few months later the engine started leacking again but this time from the bottom. I was given a quote for $1100 to get the second leackage fixed. I waited for a while and went back to get the job done. The quote went up to $4000. when i asked why, they said the engine is leaking from everywhere now. What? Am I driving a BMW or a crappy low rating car? we bought it new and paid a bit mor than $50K for it. BMW blames the driver but I blame BMW and its poor quality. This car is 10 years old but it has only done about 100K. it is mostly driven by my wife (50+) who is a very good driver and never had any traffic offences. This is the worst car we have ever had! Based on this experience we will never ever buy a BMW again and I don't recommend it to anyone... even to my enemies!

BodyHatch
Badge120i
LineSport
TransmissionAutomatic
Date PurchasedMar 2007
Engine Size2.0

Flawed

Great N55 3 litre six in a bad chassis that creaks and moans, very patchy build quality, very un-cohesive to drive, DCT twin clutch is horrid, it's a very heavy and complex system and it clunked on downshifts, BMW have lost their way on this one, current products aren't much better.

BodyCoupe
Badge135i
LineM Performance
TransmissionDCT 7 speed
Date PurchasedJun 2013
Engine Size3.0

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Questions & Answers

Does anyone know if the 56 plate bmw 1 series 2.0l msport is the N47 or M57 engine ?
No answers

Hi fellow BMW drivers, I have a 2008 120i 5dr hatch and it has only done 71,000km. I have had it for a year now and recently I noticed it has a blue-ish smoke from the exhaust upon take off only. Do you know what this could be? I'm really concerned as it has low km's. I love the car and am very happy with it. Thanks, Michael.
2 answers
No I don't have that??? Do you get it serviced with BMW? KarenI have an 2005 e87 120i with 140k on the clock. Just started blowing smoke in a big way after sitting at traffic lights for a bit. That's usually Valve Stem seals. PCV valve is another potential failure point. Google 120i problems you'll be horrified with the problems these things have. Seriously these things are rubbish, had to replace my differential at 85k. It leaks oil from the sump gasket, from the o rings on the solenoids in the front of the head, and water from the back of the engine. They're a fantastic thing to drive...but like most Bimmers once out of warranty they're a disaster.

I'm considering a 2006 model 130i but am concerned about some road tests suggesting the ride is really harsh. I don't know whether this depends on the car having the M sport suspension package (can you get a 130i without that?) but not so long ago I sold a 325ti simply because the ride was uncomfortable (and it did have M sport suspension). Anyone care to offer an opinion on ride quality?
4 answers
We bought a 325i in 2007 and the suspension was standard with run on flats - terribly crashy initially. Eventually the run on flats improved and now the ride in the 325i is excellent. I was worried with the 125i with sports suspension combined with run on flats would be harsh too, but not so - really firm but supple too. Would suggest the tyres are key.Hi Natural most sports suspension have a harder ride softer rides usually confined to normal luxury models . if u like soft rides best to go Japanese or the larger BMW merecedes models .You can get the 130i standard non sports model but then you sacrifice handling and the ride is no different from a equivalent Japanese Honda .Hope this helpsThe run on flats we now have on our 2007 325i are Continentals. They are provide a much better ride quality than the original tyres. On the new 125i we have Pirelli run on flats - also provide a good ride quality.

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