Good things come in small packages they say… and the BMW 125i does a great job of supporting that sentiment.
It’s been some time since I got behind the wheel of something in the small car range and with a lifestyle which has me doing plenty of distance towing trailers and horse floats, I’d forgotten just how practical a little pocket rocket can be.
I must confess, I’ve never been a big fan of the 1 Series styling – and I’m still not won over – but the burnt orange paintjob on the test car we drove, and a little “M” badge had me a bit more appreciative.
It’s not all about the looks though. It’s not much about the looks, in fact. It’s about what’s inside, what’s under the bonnet and what this nifty BMW can do that impresses.
The petrol-powered 125i comes standard with the M Sport pack so gets a good serving of kit for the price of $48,900 – a six-speaker stereo, auto LED headlights, auto wipers, M Sport brakes and suspension, up-spec sat nav, reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, variable ratio steering, front and rear parking sensors, cloth and Alcantara trim and 18-inch M wheels with run-flat tyres.
But the big bonus in this small offering is its rear wheel drive… not on offer in other cars in its class.
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine produces 165kW and 310Nm torque, delivered via an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission for a great driving experience.
It can sprint to 100km/h in 6.1 seconds and provides a fun, performance driving experience with great front-end grip and direct steering. It’s firm and gives plenty of confidence without going too far into sports car territory.
And it delivers an acceptable 5.9L/100km rate of fuel consumption, running on premium fuel, however.
Not only is it efficient, with a touch of sports car at your fingertips, it also sits at the top of the tree for safety with a maximum five ANCAP star rating thanks to the standard safety tech which includes six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, brake assist, driver attention detection, lane departure warning, speed sign recognition, front autonomous emergency braking.
In short, the BMW 125I is a small thing with a taste of the good stuff usually reserved for bigger things…. and that makes it great.