Other BMW 1-Series (2004 - 2013) models:

BMW 2007 1-Series Hatchback

Want to know everything there is to know about this car?

In their own words

The manual says to change the oil every 15,000 miles or every 2 years which according to the history is about what has been done most of it's life. Ignore the manual, change oil at least once a year or every 10,000 miles or the vanos solenoids will not function correctly and you will increase your chances of cam chain failure. The early pre 2007 116i is the most reliable model as it does not have the valvetronic system which all the other petrol engines have that can wear prematurely causing poor fueling due to incorrect valve timing. Run flat tyres ruin the cars handling as do cheap tyres which will cause the ESP system to function incorrectly causing adverse handling effects. Stock 195 55 16 size tyres are expensive and best replaced with cheaper more readily available 205 55 16 size which improves ride and handling with no negative effects to fuel economy or acceleration. A remap on my 116i gave a noticeable power increase especially in the mid range, fuel economy remains the same but the engine no longer switches to a slow map if you drive slowly, this keeps the engine responsive at all times. I replaced the camchain tensioner which was relatively cheap to limit the chances of the chain snapping. Oil changes have been around every 5000 miles, if anything other than BMW Longlife 04 spec is used it will burn oil at a rate of around 2.5 litres every 4000 miles. Using Castrol Edge 0w30 I only used between 250 & 500ml in 6000 miles. The 116i has the BMW quality feel to the drive, handling is sweet, the electronics cope well in bad conditions, brakes are good and safety levels at the front are on par with the E90 3 series. The glove box has an annoying catch that keeps coming lose and the seat bolsters wear & tear easily. Other than the annoying oil filter housing leak which is still present despite fitting a new gasket there are no other faults. Room in the back is cramped but I don't sit there so not a problem. Visibility compared to earlier BMW's is limited by thick pillars all around and the windows are high. The rear seats come down and provide enough room to cart decent size mountain bikes with the wheels removed. If you want a smallish car with a luxury feel and good levels of safety the early 116i is a pretty good car. Service history is a must though unless it is giveaway money as any major engine problems mean it is scrap. The other engines in the range and later models have too high a record for unreliability to recommend. The Honda Civic EP3 is possibly a better, cheaper to run and more reliable car but you are dead in a big crash. The newer similarly priced Civic has the safety and is a better car but with a messy interior layout they are not nice to drive for me. Part of BMW ownership is that you specifically want a BMW. The Focus & Astra of the same vintage will do the job but safety isn't as good, reliability and economy isn't that much better and they are nowhere near as nice to drive. I can't comment on the VW Golf and the Audi A3 is notorious for faults, plus they are just an expensive VW that isn't as good and costs more to fix.
  • How they rated it

  • Reliability: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Meets Expectations: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Marcouse recommends this car

About their car

  • Fuel type Petrol
  • When purchased April 2018
  • Condition when bought Used
  • Current Mileage 116,000 miles
  • Average MPG 36 mpg