Hatch match BMW plays catch-up with Benz’s all-con­quer­ing A-class

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

des­per­a­tion it has the ef­fect of mak­ing the flag­ging Bavar­ian a good deal more com­pet­i­tive and in­deed the best value in the model’s two gen­er­a­tion his­tory.

BMW­boss Phil Hor­ton says the range-wide re­vi­sion re­sults in some $5000 added value. It also marks the ef­fec­tive death knell of the man­ual BMW.

Al­ready a thing of the past in the 3 Se­ries range on up, it is now his­tory in its most driver ori­ented pas­sen­ger model.

The eight-speed torque con­verter au­to­matic is stan­dard to match Benz’s nonop­tional seven-speed twin clutch auto.

The base 116i gains bet­ter up­hol­stery and rear park dis­tance con­trol; the 118i, 118d and 125i get a nav sys­tem via 6.5-inch screen, en­hanced smart-phone con­nec­tiv­ity in­clud­ing voice con­trol and Blue­tooth au­dio stream­ing.

The 125i also cops 18-inch al­loys and sports seats.

The range top­per M135i – soon to face off against the A45 AMG– gains fore and aft park dis­tance con­trol, top spec nav and in­ter­net func­tion­al­ity.

Op­tion pack­ages are sim­i­larly pol­ished up to the ex­tent that the 116i can fi­nally be had with rain sens­ing wipers. Metal­lic paint and leather up­hol­stery among oth­ers are still ex­tra­costs items.

The com­pact pres­tige price war will be­come yet more in­tense in Oc­to­ber with the ar­rival in of Benz’s CLA four­door coupe fol­lowed in the first half of next year with the GLA, an SUV built like the CLA builds on the A-Class. BMW ri­poste later next year with the 2 Se­ries coupe and cabrio, de­vel­op­ments of the 1 Se­ries.

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