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Archive for February, 2015|Monthly archive page

Sport? Pull the other one!

In BMW on February 23, 2015 at 10:36 pm

116i sportIt’s a while since I got to drive anything interesting, but today’s loan car certainly ticked that box.

My 3 series still isn’t feeling that well after it was rear-ended last year, so I’ve been loaned a BMW 116 “Sport” for two days.

It’s curious that word “Sport”.

What does it mean?

As I drove away from East Surrey Hospital (picking up a carer) I watched an injured 20 something hobble into casualty.

I guess Sport is something healthy people do en route to various injuries.

In an automotive context “Sport” it translates to “sedate, but with subtle ornamentation”.

My particular chariot looks splendid in metallic Black, and my wife really liked the wheels.

“Easy to clean” was the view of a girl who drive an “M Sport” on a daily basis.

But how much sport does a bog standard “Sport” deliver?

Not much.

The 1.6 litre pumps out a rumoured 136 horses, though they aren’t easily roused.

On paper this car is level pegging with my old 2005 Honda Civic Type S.  The 0-60 mph and top speed are virtually identical at 8.5 seconds, and 130 mph tops.

In truth the unit doesn’t sing like a V-Tec, and simply doesn’t seem to spin into life.

On a positive note this one is turning in 34 mpg (my Honda used get 30-32 mpg) and the controls feedback plenty of info.

This one seems to “Sport” a faux leather steering wheel, which twists and turns over uneven camber. However I have enjoyed swapping cogs manually, whilst observing the gear shift indicators that promote economy.

In our home we have leather clad sports seats in the 125, and leather clad “normal” seats in my 3 series.

The red striped black cloth Sports seats seem better than the above.  I also like the piano black glossy trims, and red detailing in the dashboard.

cockpit 116Sitting outside the hospital I was amazed at how much kit a standard car has bolted on.  The drivers manual can be viewed on the information screen (see pic), and the keys are “Smart” so Mr & mrs can have their own heating and radio settings automatically.

Nifty!

Checking out all the salient facts I see this example would set you back about £21,000, but I’ve no doubt a bit of haggling would see this drop by about £2000, either that or you’d be able to scrounge a “Business Class” sat nav.

My Verdict: 8 out of 10.

In many ways this machine offers more than the mid range 125 M Sport.  It isn’t really trying to be a Focus RS, but it is a smart, desirable hatch that I’d be happy to live with for a year.

What I want, what I really, really want though is a 135 M Sport 5 door with active suspension, and Xenon lights.

Now that one’s worth 10 out of 10.

One day?

I hope so.