He tried. He really tried – but CHRIS RILEY just couldn’t warm to the BMW 120d.
THE 120d is targetted at younger drivers with a conscience – a sports flavoured hatch with super economy. It’s equipped with the latest in BMW’s fuel saving technology and our test vehicle had a big advert for the stuff plastered down the side just in case we forgot.
At the heart of the matter is a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine that produces 130kW of power and 350Nm of torque.
Fuel consumption is rated at just 4.8 litres per 100km and the car emits only 128g/km of CO2.
We drove an earlier version of the 120d a couple of years back, equipped with a less powerful 2.0-litre diesel and six-speed auto.
This one however comes with a six-speed manual and that enables the use of auto start-stop technology.
As its name suggests, it shuts the engine down when the vehicle comes to a halt, say when you pull up at traffic lights – but only if you first take the car out of gear and then take your foot off the clutch.
Once you get the hang of the system, it’s reasonably easy to operate but it’s easy to forget to do the right thing in the heat of the moment.
We’ve driven a few vehicles now with similar systems fitted, but we have to say the Beemer is the least user-friendly of the bunch, not because it works any differently – but because of the heavy clutch and gear shifter action.
Auto start-stop doesn’t get on well with sizzling hot weather either, because when the air con is running flat out, the load is too much and it overrides the system.
We clocked up a couple of hundred kilometres behind the wheel of the 120d, finishing with an average fuel consumption of 6.5 litres/100km – considerably more than the 4.8 quoted.
We also were surprised to note it’s not as good as the earlier model we drove, out of which we got 6.0 litres/100km.
The 2.0-litre engine features third-generation common rail injection and like most diesel power plants delivers strong mid-range acceleration, with 0 to 100 km/h taking a respectable 7.6 seconds. That’s pretty quick for a diesel. But overall we found the car engine heavy and truck-like to drive.
We loved the white upholstery though with piano black trim.
Although the “Lemon” leather is a $1700 option, it includes Bluetooth and a USB audio interface.
It made a welcome change from the usual doom and gloom black Euro interior.
The sports seats with their extended side bolsters however made getting in and out more difficult.
Standard equipment includes Dynamic Stability Control, rear Park Distance Control, 17in light alloy wheels with run flat safety tyres, sports leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons, cruise control, automatic climate control and sport seats.
Not surprisingly there are plenty of options available including the M Sport Package, Professional Navigation, Comfort Access and some Adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights.
The BMW 120d Sports Hatch manual is priced from $46,790.
Cool customer: The BMW 120d is proving difficult to warm to.