BMW 116d ED

10 May, 2012 3:00pm Luke Madden

Latest version of the 1 Series offers tax-free motoring with low emissions of only 99g/km. But is it still as good to drive?


There are plenty of models in this low-emissions family class, but none is as accomplished as the 116d ED. It’s still fun to drive and looks good, and retains the kind of quality BMW buyers have come to expect. Most appealing is the fact the ED is the same price as a standard 116d SE – and a few hundred pounds less than similarly equipped rivals, too.
A BMW 1 Series that costs nothing in road tax? That’ll be the 116d EfficientDynamics. It’s the first BMW to emit less than 100g/km, but the company says there are no compromises; the styling, dynamics and performance are exactly what fans will expect.

A car with sub-100g/km CO2 emissions is nothing new in this class – Volkswagen has the Golf BlueMotion and Ford has the Focus ECOnetic – but the BMW is one of the quickest.

With 114bhp it has 10bhp more than both rivals, and covers 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds – nearly a second up on the Golf. The ED model uses a 1.6-litre diesel (rather than the 2.0-litre in a standard 116d), but with just two-tenths separating the 0-62mph times, the gap in performance is barely noticeable – especially with the car in Sport mode, which sharpens throttle responses.

The accurate, short-shift box makes it easy to move up and down the gears quickly, too. An auto is also available; this claims the same tax-free CO2 emissions as the manual.

The engine is refined, too, although the stop-start set-up could be smoother as the car judders a bit when the engine shuts off.

The 1 Series’ reputation has been built on its handling, so is this eco model, with its eco-orientated tyres, still just as good?

Admittedly some sharpness has been lost; there’s more of a tendency to understeer and the car feels a little less agile. But the dynamics are still up there with the class best. And it rides just as comfortably as any other 1 Series in the line-up.

It’s still firm and, thanks to springs that are 10mm lower than standard, it’s more prone to shocks, but it copes better with rough roads than the old 1 Series ever did.

More good news comes with the styling, which is identical to that of a standard 1 Series; there isn’t even any EfficientDynamics badging to set the newcomer apart from a regular 116d.

Incredibly, the price is the same as for a 116d, too. It starts from £20,885, but still includes a USB connection, all-round electric windows and a leather multifunction wheel. Specify a Golf BlueMotion to the same level and it’ll cost you £125 more.

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I'm not knocking BMW but compared to a normal hatchback...

Its cramped in the back seats
has a smallish boot
is prodigiously expensive
is "different" looking to some people
is much more expensive to insure and service

... but its free road tax!!!

Seriously, get a Focus or Golf or Auris and run it for years for a fraction of what this will cost overall.



You guys are doing a good job and we thank you but your bias is so apparent it sometimes shakes your credibility. For starters, no car looking this fugly should make it to 5 stars. You should read your own review on the Astra Ecoflex, 1.7ltr, 128 bhp, 76 mpg. It drives great but you gave it a 3 star rating cause its expensive. The Bimmer which will cost 23k to match the Astra and is actually pricier to maintain takes 5 stars. Oh and I don't favour the Astra. The Ford and the VW are actually better because of price.

I can't believe this! The CVT automatic Lexus CT200h was slammed for its 0-62mph figure of 10.3 seconds. This manual BMW "covers' it in 10.5 seconds, "nearly a second up on the Golf". The subjective evaluation of these acceleration figures seems to depend on the vehicle's make and country of origin. BMW's made in Germany are always fast. Lexus, not made in Europe, are always slow.

This car only gets more and more ugly.

Based on my experiences with a 320d efficientdynamics, you won't get within 20 mpg of that figure, ever. It will also suffer from a catalogue of niggling faults, for which the parts to fix will always be "on back order" from BMW Germany....
Something has to be done about these ludicrous "official" MPG claims. They may as well pick the number from thin air.

I agree with the comments on MPG claims. You really do need to say these are not real-life figures.
As for your bias towards certain makes of car, I'm not surprised people complain. It is rather obvious. No doubt this will be a very popular car but I wonder how many are going to private buyers and how many to company car drivers?

Thanks BMW for making our lives prettier. But please follow YOUR own way don't try to get ideas from VW or Mercedes. Get original designers like you used to or else you will become number three again.

I've been looking at all the 99g/km eco diesels and the BMW comes out fairly near the top compared with Golf/A3/Guilietta/Focus/Astra/V50/V40/Octavia.
Not as expensive as some rivals.
Chain cam engine - no rubber band to change - VAG take note.
Insurance Gp 15 - others are 18 and up.
£300 servicing for 5 years
Good performance.
Boot space on a par with the rest. Slightly cramped rear seats.
Some engineering a bit shabby - tailgate strut supports.
Interior trim hard edged where it should be soft - door grab handles.
If anyone can deliver on the economy, then BMW probably can.
The rest do not compare with my current 12yr old Golf Mk IV GT TDI - combined 57.6mpg and has averaged 54mpg over 110k miles.

Is the comment about an auto version correct?
No sign on the website.
Would be very attractive for those like me who need a Congestion Charge buster but don't like the Prius.
Any info welcome

Re BMW's MPG figures, they purely down to driving style. We had a 123d m-sport coupe and managed to get exactly what BMW specified, 64.5 or something like that. Incredibly boring driving though. My early morning sprint (1.5 miles to work) tended to average 33 MPG. I've never had any car get much better than that.

I think the viewer is taking into account the fact that this car is very economical in respect to the 0-60 time. 10 seconds to sixty is reasonable.

Other thing to note is that of course the car is rear wheel drive. Great for handling for most of the year, not great in snow without winter tyres. Saying that, this is meant to have skinny tyres so should be better than most.

About time!

Rear wheel drive handling and a bullet proof chain cam engine with these emissions..... well done BMW! A proper drivers car with a great combination of economy and 0-62 in 10.5 seconds.

I am sure that anyone with good driving skills will be able to get both good fuel economy and pace.

Echoing the points above - it's not that quick, it has an over firm ride, doesn't handle that well and judders everytime the stop/start cuts in. But somehow it gets 5 stars?

Surely this is a 4 star car? Especially considering some of the very harsh 3 star reviews recently on otherwise capable and decent motors...

There's lot of cars this size now under 100 g/km, is this really that much better than the alternatives? Can it not be improved at all?

And another thing, the BMW 116D will have a DIESEL PARTICULATE FILTER - which is fine if you drive mainly at higher speeds on motorways - but causes major reliability problems if you mainly drive in urban areas at lower speeds.

It is an invention of the Devil being fitted to the LATEST EURO 5 GENERATION of Diesel engines that can cost 1000s of pounds in repair bills.

So, if you are not a high speed, high annual mileage driver, save yourself a lot of misery and buy a petrol engined car instead.

Ugly pointless car thats sells on its badge alone, is nowhere near as good as it should be to earn 5 stars, and unless you are travelling more than 10,000 miles a year, you are better off with petrol.

I think for the price of £18,000 plus I think there are better alternatives in this category. I think rivals and alternatives like the Audi A1 5-door Sportback and Alfa Romeo Mito Cloverleaf are two examples I can think of, which are more stylish, better designed and more desirable. I agree with Shaun34, it seems AE have given 5 stars which I think in reality, this car doesn't merit, in truth it's only a 3.5-4 star car at best. I wonder, when BMW, if rumours are to be believed, will switch to fwd to save costs, will AE still be awarding 5 stars?

Dude comparing the mito and a1 (...vw polo platform) to the 1 series is ...impossible. Those cars don't have the chassis, even the room inside, the trunk, the handling, the comfort, the interior quality (audi tries but still!) on the BMW...

First time I have to agree, this a great, great car!

Hard to take this seriously to be honest!! The bias has been quite noticeable for some time, as already pointed out above, and although this might well be 'efficient''s damned ugly, slow, cramped and overpriced, and just a wannabe's car for those that 'need' the badge!!

Even if it came with a bag I could wear on my head so nobody recognised me, I sill wouldn't want to be seen in it!!

Saw one of these a few hrs ago in the flesh.. Nice work BMW! Way
better than the first. Looked lower, meaner but with a touch of the
unitarian look about it. Peeps get so worked up on this forum with
regards to car design for no reason? The pics don't do any justic.
Eitherway, call it badge snobbery or whatever but as much as I like
VW Golf, I like the joy of driving- I presume that's why most of us
are on here? And with that being the case, the BMW would win for
me everytime. I just love the way they instil a bit of M vibe in all of
their products. Not like Audi, VW or most of the others. With say
Audi, you'd need the R8 before you get anywhere near driving
nirvana. At least at BM they take care of this from 116 all the way
to the top. Only my opinion ; !)

Why do people buy these things - rear wheel drive is extremely dated, useless in snow or ice, the looks are hideous and the performance is disgustingly pedestrian for a £20k car. Spend the extra £2k and buy an Octavia vRS with more space, better handling, better looks, much better performance and be assured of quality, unlike the BMW, which is slipping down the Driver Power survey.

lol yawn at this VAG fanboy comment

it's because they are bias!

Key specs

* BMW 116d EfficientDynamics
* Price: From £20,885
* Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
* Power: 114bhp
* Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
* 0-62/top speed: 10.5 seconds/121mph
* Economy/CO2: 74.3mpg/99g/km
* Equipment: Electric windows, Bluetooth, multifunction leather steering wheel, USB connection
* On sale: Now

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