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      07-12-2017, 09:58 AM   #1
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Lightbulb sDrive 18i opinions? Worth it? 1.5 three cilinder engine opinions?

Hi everybody! I'm new to the forum, so hi to everybody!

I'm doing some research for my next car. We are a small family (2 adults, one 4 year old girl, and an 8 month baby girl). We currently have a Citroen C4 1.6 VTi - 120 hp, 160Nm torque @ 4200 RPM, 0 to 100km/h in 10.8s - not a particularly fast car by any means.

Our car has served us well for more than 4 years...nothing major to complain, but we'd like to move up to an SUV, mostly for practicality with the kids.

Most of our driving (like...90%) is city driving, carrying my girl from home to school and back, going to friend's houses, visiting the supermarket or the shopping mall, that sort of thing. A few times a year we adventure out the city for weekend getaways, a few hundred km away. Usually on highway or half decent paved roads.

We've been contemplating different alternatives, and the X1 is certainly high on my list, since i've always wanted a german car. I could get a manual transmission X1 with a few optionals like sunroof and harman kardon audio, and it would fall squarely within our budget. Thing is, they don't have it in stock locally, so i cannot test drive this particular version of the car.

I know to many people (particularly brand purists) it makes no sense to buy an entry level premium car.

I wonder though, given my car needs, and the vehicle i'm coming from (which is certainly not spectacular in any particular regard)...would it make sense to make this move? Would i be missing too much of the "BMW experience" from going with a smallish engine X1 with manual transmission instead of automatic?

I would like to hear opinions of people who has actually driven the sDrive 18i - please avoid posting preconceived "opinions". I'd like to know from the real world.

How does the small engine perform in the city? What about highway overtaking with the car fully loaded when going at, lets say 90-100 km/h?

Thanks to all...and thanks for reading this long post!

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      07-12-2017, 04:41 PM   #2
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I haven't driven the sDrive18d, but have driven the xDrive18d. Not entirely comparable (18d has a lot more torque), but based on what that car offers I can't imagine the 18i being a disappointment. Recently saw an article somewhere (can't remember, car mag) about best engines in the world and the 3-pot BMW petrols were mentioned. If anything, I suspect the 18i is much more characterful than the 18d (which is a very 'functional' engine - basically moves the box about at a good lick but that's it, it's not what you would call inspiring).

Coming from a C4 with the stats you mention (non-turbo engine), it will likely feel like a rocket ship. So in the absolute it might not be the most powerful car (sDrive 18i), but relative to what you've spent 4 years in it should feel like a big step up.

Beyond that, I imagine they at least have *a* X1 (different engine) for you to drive. You can make up your mind from there on. But in my view, this is offering everything you could reasonably want from a 'premium' vehicle without descending into the absurd (think the new A8 with not one but *3* big-ass digital screens - you can only look at one at the same time). Especially if you have budget for luxury features like the panoramic sunroof and Harman Kardon, it'll probably blow you away relative to what you've got today. I would recommend two more options though: M-Sport steering wheel, as this is your constant contact point with the car and it feels/looks so much nicer, and sports seats, as they do a nice job of 'enveloping' you which the standard ones don't (they are more bench-like).
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      07-13-2017, 07:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomperson View Post
I'm doing some research for my next car. We are a small family (2 adults, one 4 year old girl, and an 8 month baby girl). We currently have a Citroen C4 1.6 VTi - 120 hp, 160Nm torque @ 4200 RPM, 0 to 100km/h in 10.8s - not a particularly fast car by any means.

Most of our driving (like...90%) is city driving, carrying my girl from home to school and back, going to friend's houses, visiting the supermarket or the shopping mall, that sort of thing. A few times a year we adventure out the city for weekend getaways, a few hundred km away. Usually on highway or half decent paved roads.

We've been contemplating different alternatives, and the X1 is certainly high on my list, since i've always wanted a german car. I could get a manual transmission X1 with a few optionals like sunroof and harman kardon audio, and it would fall squarely within our budget. Thing is, they don't have it in stock locally, so i cannot test drive this particular version of the car.

I wonder though, given my car needs, and the vehicle i'm coming from (which is certainly not spectacular in any particular regard)...would it make sense to make this move? Would i be missing too much of the "BMW experience" from going with a smallish engine X1 with manual transmission instead of automatic?
The sdrive 18i is very popular in Greece being the most affordable version of the X1, since all bigger engines are heavily taxed by our left wing government.

I have the sdrive 18i in the xline trim (plus auto folding mirrors, no leds, sunroof, navi, HK or other fancy extras) with the 6-gear automatic transmission, since February 2017.

My previous cars were a 2007 Toyota RAV4 (2000cc 152HP) and a 2014 Nissan Qashqai 1500 dci diesel (110HP).
Had to sell the Qashqai quite soon because it suffered from quality and built issues and decided to pay the extra money for a more refined and quality car like the X1 even with its entry level engine.

The engine drives adequately and quite economical, too!
I only use the car for family (2 adults and 3 kids, 11 and 6 years old) journeys (run 3000 km until now) and even though I usually drive at high speeds (between 130 - 170 km/h) the consumption is surprisingly nice (between 6,9 - 7,7 litres per 100km).
The car handles great and is by far the best I have ever driven.
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      07-13-2017, 09:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BemweeBE View Post
Coming from a C4 with the stats you mention (non-turbo engine), it will likely feel like a rocket ship. So in the absolute it might not be the most powerful car (sDrive 18i), but relative to what you've spent 4 years in it should feel like a big step up.
That is my gut feeling as well. But, trying to make a decision based on what i can read online (since they don't stock this particular X1 model) is hard, which is why i ask people for their opinion. And, you know, all reviews out there are for the 2.0 turbo engine. Thanks for chiming in!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BemweeBE View Post
Beyond that, I imagine they at least have *a* X1 (different engine) for you to drive. You can make up your mind from there on.
Yes...i can certainly make an informed decision on the material quality, practicality, that sort of thing...just not the engine...hence my question goes straight in that direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BemweeBE View Post
But in my view, this is offering everything you could reasonably want from a 'premium' vehicle without descending into the absurd (think the new A8 with not one but *3* big-ass digital screens - you can only look at one at the same time). Especially if you have budget for luxury features like the panoramic sunroof and Harman Kardon, it'll probably blow you away relative to what you've got today. I would recommend two more options though: M-Sport steering wheel, as this is your constant contact point with the car and it feels/looks so much nicer, and sports seats, as they do a nice job of 'enveloping' you which the standard ones don't (they are more bench-like).
Thanks again for your kind advice...Appreciate it!
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      07-13-2017, 09:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by iceman7 View Post
The sdrive 18i is very popular in Greece being the most affordable version of the X1, since all bigger engines are heavily taxed by our left wing government.
Vehicles in general in my country are heavily taxed, and those with "bigger" engines even more so. The sdrive 18i model was only recently launched locally, so there are not any owners out there I could ask their opinions...And the BMW dealer doesn't have it in stock yet, so no way to test drive this particular engine either...And all online reviews are for the 2.0 engine model...there is NOTHING on the 1.5 one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman7 View Post
I have the sdrive 18i in the xline trim (plus auto folding mirrors, no leds, sunroof, navi, HK or other fancy extras) with the 6-gear automatic transmission, since February 2017.
Are you satisfied with your purchase? Does it feel "sportier" than your previous 2 cars? What about overtaking in highways? Is it "spirited" enough? Any bad things or complaints about the 1.5 engine? Does the car in general really feel more "refined"?

Thanks for your real world perspectives...helps me a lot in moving forward with a decision...
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      07-13-2017, 10:31 AM   #6
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ONE IMPORTANT THING (I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned it)...

If you're going for a brand new automatic, 18i is now only available with DCT (as opposed to the old torque converter). I don't know the exact details of the manufacturer, ratios, emission numbers, etc. But make sure you double check if it's a DCT or torque converter when you are reading articles or watching videos... or... well, asking other owners. The experience is most likely going to be quite different.

If the price (and long term petrol costs) is not a big issue, automatic would be my first choice.

Last edited by KPD; 07-13-2017 at 10:38 AM..
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      07-13-2017, 10:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by KPD View Post
ONE IMPORTANT THING (I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned it)...

If you're going for a brand new automatic, 18i is now only available with DCT (as opposed to the old torque converter).
I've been reading about that, but, for the life of me can't quite figure out if that is good news or bad news. I seem to understand DCT is actually faster and smoother in terms of transitioning from gear to gear...but possibly more complex and hence more prone to issues. Is that right? I would assume that if BMW is moving to that technology, they are confident its going to give a good experience?

What are your thoughts?
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      07-13-2017, 10:59 AM   #8
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According to this http://www.bmwblog.com/2017/05/12/bm...on-ukl-models/ the DCT transmission is sourced from a company called Getrag, and should be a good thing. Doesn't mention the sDrive 18i as one of the models getting it though?
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      07-13-2017, 11:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomperson View Post
I've been reading about that, but, for the life of me can't quite figure out if that is good news or bad news. I seem to understand DCT is actually faster and smoother in terms of transitioning from gear to gear...but possibly more complex and hence more prone to issues. Is that right? I would assume that if BMW is moving to that technology, they are confident its going to give a good experience?

What are your thoughts?
Torque converters have been around for ages and they just work! DCT is more complex, but can achieve better economy numbers and faster gear changes (we're talking milliseconds that only matter in a super car). Fuel economy is probably the main reason why BMW is switching to DCT for its smallest petrol X1. All the other models will continue to use the old 8 speed Aisin box, which is fantastic in my opinion.

The dry clutch DCTs tend to overheat in performance cars. And wet clutch DCTs are more complex, heavy, and not as economic. As I said, I don't know much about the one used in sDrive 18i. But I'm assuming it's a dry clutch for better fuel economy.

Long story short, you won't really need to worry about transmission overheating with a small engine. Just go for test drive to see if it changes smoothly and promptly. It's not a V12 Lamborghini!!

Tax-wise, BMW.de claims it emits only 1gr/km more than the manual box. Economy is also the same. You're basically paying extra for the convenience.

EDIT: Just saw your other reply. The DCT gear lever is electronic and looks like most other BMWs. The photos in that article aren't correct. Check the configurator or BMW Approved Used photos, if you want to see how it looks like.

Last edited by KPD; 07-13-2017 at 11:22 AM..
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      07-13-2017, 11:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomperson View Post
Vehicles in general in my country are heavily taxed, and those with "bigger" engines even more so. The sdrive 18i model was only recently launched locally, so there are not any owners out there I could ask their opinions...And the BMW dealer doesn't have it in stock yet, so no way to test drive this particular engine either...And all online reviews are for the 2.0 engine model...there is NOTHING on the 1.5 one...
Its seems like this particular engine (laready used in series 2 or Minis) was used in the X1 for peculiar markets like the ones we live that tax big engines a lot.
Hence you will only see reviews in Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, etc.

All in all the X1 is a great car and hence sells a lot. In Greece in the compact SUV segment it ranks second after the Nissan Qashqai (despite its price that is more than 10.000 euros more expensive than the QQ).
Most X1s sold are the 18i and 16d (1500cc 3-cylinder diesel).

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomperson View Post
Are you satisfied with your purchase? Does it feel "sportier" than your previous 2 cars? What about overtaking in highways? Is it "spirited" enough? Any bad things or complaints about the 1.5 engine? Does the car in general really feel more "refined"?
Thanks for your real world perspectives...helps me a lot in moving forward with a decision...
Yes I am! I paid quite a lot but I suffered 2 years with the cheap-ish Nissan QQ, so I "injected" some quality in my life!
The X1 is a sporty car, drives fast, comfortably and quietly. In Sport Mode it gets quite nervous, too!
Its "drive" is certainly more refined and spirited than anything I had till now.
The small engine is of course not that spirited as the bigger ones but mutatis mutandis is fine for me and I really never felt that it lacked power (in overtaking i.e)
More horsepower is always a good thing to have but the 18i is not going to disappoint you especially taking into account what you have been driving till now.
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      07-13-2017, 11:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KPD View Post
Torque converters have been around for ages and they just work! DCT is more complex, but can achieve better economy numbers and faster gear changes (we're talking milliseconds that only matter in a super car). Fuel economy is probably the main reason why BMW is switching to DCT for its smallest petrol X1. All the other models will continue to use the old 8 speed Aisin box, which is fantastic in my opinion.

The dry clutch DCTs tend to overheat in performance cars. And wet clutch DCTs are more complex, heavy, and not as economic. As I said, I don't know much about the one used in sDrive 18i. But I'm assuming it's a dry clutch for better fuel economy.

Long story short, you won't really need to worry about transmission overheating with a small engine. Just go for test drive to see if it changes smoothly and promptly. It's not a V12 Lamborghini!!

Tax-wise, BMW.de claims it emits only 1gr/km more than the manual box. Economy is also the same. You're basically paying extra for the convenience.
The 18i with the 6-speed Aisin emits 124g instead of 119g with the manual one!
Probably a 7 speed gearbox would also result in less consumption especially at high speeds.
However the 6-speed Aisin that my 18i has is nice, with fast and smooth gear changes. I am totally satisfied by it! I also hope that it will prove as reliable as other Japanese auto products I have owned (I have at least one Toyota in the family for the last 20 years. My wife is now driving a Yaris Hybrid).
Actually, being totally satisfied (let alone a couple of ergonomic mistakes) with the X1 until now, I just hope to be at least 80% as reliable as my Toyotas have been!

Last edited by iceman7; 07-13-2017 at 02:39 PM..
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      07-13-2017, 11:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman7 View Post
The 6-speed Aisin used in 18i emits 124g instead of 119g of the manual one!
Probably a 7 speed gearbox would also result in a less consumption especially at high speeds.
However the 6-speed Aisin that my 18i has is nice, with fast and smooth gear changes. I am totally satisfied by it! I also hope that it will prove as reliable as other Japanese auto products I have owned (I have at least a Toyota in the family for the last 20 years. My wife is now driving a Yaris Hybrid).
Actually, being totally satisfied (let alone a couple of ergonomic mistakes) with the X1 until now, I just hope to be at least 80% as reliable as my Toyotas have been!
DCTs got their bad rap because they kept breaking down in high powered Audis and VWs and expensive supercars. They're not as fragile these days when combined with smaller engines.

RE emissions and economy, I only had a quick look at BMW.de configurator and numbers for manual and automatic 18i were the same. Switching to DCT helps BMW lower it's overall emission numbers as a manufacturer to comply with EU or local regulations. Sort of like how Aston Martin made that stupid mini-car based on Toyota iQ. Cygnet or something.
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      07-13-2017, 02:25 PM   #13
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I was in a similar position when we ordered our 20i in the U.K. as not many buyers here choose the petrol engine. Therefore the dealers only had 20d's for me to test drive in M Sport guise. Therefore I drove the 20d but asked to drive a car with the 20i engine so that I could get a feel for power delivery and engine noise. They gave me a 220i M Sport auto and this helped in me deciding that the engine had the torque required and helped me understand the characteristics of the engine.

Not ideal but better than going in blind....

DCT's in my experience of other brands are great when driven manually but the gear changes are not as smooth as a traditional auto when left in automatic mode

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      07-13-2017, 03:30 PM   #14
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Thanks to all for your helpful and kind replies.

If there are any other sDrive 18i users out there, hopefully you can contribute to this thread, so we can have more real world data about this engine on the X1.
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      07-13-2017, 04:01 PM   #15
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I haven't driven the three cylinder but the experience will be very similar to any other small displacement turbo. Your C4 has very narrow power band between 2200 and 3000 RPM. You could go and drive any other similar size car (Seat, Skoda, VW with 1.4 TSi engine) and you will get pretty good feel for what a modern turbo engine feels like - good torque from idle to about 4000RPMs and then they start fading so there is no point to rev them much higher. There is a bit of a turbo lag but it shouldn't be too much of a problem with a manual transmission.
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      07-13-2017, 09:40 PM   #16
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I would stay away from dual-clutch trannies... they are supposedly bad in stop-and-go traffic and slow driving, e.g. parking lots... read all the complaints DSG has in the VW world. The X1 is a relatively heavy car, about 3,600 lbs, so I would test drive the 3-cyl version to see if it has enough torque to move the car adequately in city driving. One example of a bad implementation of a small engine in a big car, is the 1.4T Jetta. It's so underpowered, the turbo has to kick in too much, and the fuel economy is practically the same as the 1.8/2.0T. You don't want to have to rely heavily on the turbo in normal driving. On the other hand, our X1 S-drive with the 2.0T has almost too much power, I think they could have used a 1.8T with adequate performance.
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      07-14-2017, 04:13 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calvol View Post
... One example of a bad implementation of a small engine in a big car, is the 1.4T Jetta. It's so underpowered, the turbo has to kick in too much, and the fuel economy is practically the same as the 1.8/2.0T. You don't want to have to rely heavily on the turbo in normal driving. On the other hand, our X1 S-drive with the 2.0T has almost too much power, I think they could have used a 1.8T with adequate performance.
Jetta 1.4tsi manual with 125hp engine do exceptionally well considering its size. Im not saying its a fast car but it has adequate performance and really good economy. Power to weight ratio of Jetta is basically same as bmw 320 e90 with old 150hp engine, Im talking about my Jetta with a manual and low version of the ea211 (125hp).

As for 1.5 b38 ... Go for a diesel If B48 is not an option. Diesel at least has more torque.
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      07-14-2017, 10:54 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by mr_lab_rat View Post
Your C4 has very narrow power band between 2200 and 3000 RPM.
Actually i think the power band of my Citroen C4 is on the higher end of the rev counter...like above 2500 rpms, and going up to 5000 rpms. At least, that's when i feel the car really "moves". The problem with that, is that on city driving, it is slow to get going from standing still, and you have to rev the engine to get any sort of acceleration. On top of that, on low rpms the engine feels gutless...like, nothing is happening.
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      07-14-2017, 10:56 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSERGEI-BY View Post
As for 1.5 b38 ... Go for a diesel If B48 is not an option. Diesel at least has more torque.
Thanks for the suggestion, unfortunately diesel is not an option in my country.
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      07-14-2017, 11:51 AM   #20
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I have a sDrive18i with the 6-speed auto. And to be honest, the car is a lot more capable than it looks on paper.

My commutes mostly comprises of city driving, where I'm generally in Eco Pro. The car comfortably wafts along and only at roundabouts do I ever feel the urge to switch to comfort. Even in eco, the car still feels quite torquey from a standstill and certainly doesn't hesitate to get off the line.

Once the car gets up to 60-70kph it does feel quite lazy in eco, however switching to comfort or sport quickly eliminates that issue.

In sport, it doesn't hesitate to reach 120+kph.

Overall I'm very satisfied with the 18i, and in my opinion it has a more characterful sound than the bigger 4 cylinders.

I was also in a similar position when I ordered my 18i, but I managed to get into an 118i to feel what the engine could offer. Perhaps you can ask your dealer if they have 1,2, or even 3 series using that engine.

Best of luck!
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      07-14-2017, 02:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomperson View Post
Actually i think the power band of my Citroen C4 is on the higher end of the rev counter...like above 2500 rpms, and going up to 5000 rpms. At least, that's when i feel the car really "moves". The problem with that, is that on city driving, it is slow to get going from standing still, and you have to rev the engine to get any sort of acceleration. On top of that, on low rpms the engine feels gutless...like, nothing is happening.
Sorry, I meant it has fairly narrow peak torque range in those RPMs. The turbo engine will feel significantly stronger and will pull strongly from low RPMs (so good for city driving)
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      07-17-2017, 03:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by 1ittletofu View Post
I have a sDrive18i with the 6-speed auto. And to be honest, the car is a lot more capable than it looks on paper.

My commutes mostly comprises of city driving, where I'm generally in Eco Pro. The car comfortably wafts along and only at roundabouts do I ever feel the urge to switch to comfort. Even in eco, the car still feels quite torquey from a standstill and certainly doesn't hesitate to get off the line.

Once the car gets up to 60-70kph it does feel quite lazy in eco, however switching to comfort or sport quickly eliminates that issue.

In sport, it doesn't hesitate to reach 120+kph.

Overall I'm very satisfied with the 18i, and in my opinion it has a more characterful sound than the bigger 4 cylinders.

I was also in a similar position when I ordered my 18i, but I managed to get into an 118i to feel what the engine could offer. Perhaps you can ask your dealer if they have 1,2, or even 3 series using that engine.

Best of luck!
May I ask what's your usual load either in city driving or highway? How many adults/kids? Thanks for your kind comment...Good news is, it seems the local BMW dealer recently received a unit for test drive of the 18i, which means i will be able to test some of these assumptions first hand...at any rate, the opinion from owners of this particular version are still welcome. Particularly real world usage. There's only so much you can understand about how a car will perform from a limited time test drive...

Last edited by tomperson; 07-17-2017 at 03:15 PM..
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