BMW introduced a new generation of its 1-series last year in Frankfurt. The model was unveiled in a 5-door hatchback configuration, and all models had a very high specification. Direct fuel injection, turbocharger, Stop & Start system… All that comes standard in every 1-series. The unveiling of the 3-door hatchback could have been an opportunity to lower the model’s definition, but BMW didn’t chose to do that. BMW cars must be getting better and better all the time, and this year’s 116i is much faster than last year’s model. It means that when BMW has decided to launch a new model with the same performance as last year’s 116i, it had to invent a new name. That will be 114i.
This new 114i, which will only come as a 3-door, has nothing less than a 116i, or even a 125i besides power. Its engine is a turbocharged 1.6 liter inline-four, the exact same engine as the 116i, only in a slightly less strained form. Maximum power is 102 hp, maximum torque is 133 lb-ft. Pretty normal values for 1.6 liter, without a turbocharger. But this engine has one to lower engine speeds (and fuel consumption). Max power is attained at a diesel-like 4,000 RPM, while peak torque is at a heavy boat-like 1,100 RPM. This is totally unprecedented engine speed for peak torque on a gas engine in a passenger car. But BMW, once known for its high-revving engines, did it.
With modest power, acceleration is moderate. The 114i needs 11.2 seconds to go 0 to 62 mph, and top speed is 121 mph, but fuel economy is excellent at 43 mpg. CO2 emissions are 129 grams per km, exactly what the 218 hp 125d gets. So the diesel keeps the lead in the race to fewer emissions. The 116d EfficientDynamics Edition only confirms this, its highly optimized drivetrain manages to bring CO2 emissions down to a remarkable 99 grams per km.