As the name would suggest, the Sport Line is all about performance fit for the active lifestyle. This temperament is accentuated by larger 18-inch rims, a blacked-out kidney grill, bumper accents, and side mirrors, while the interior is decorated with black trim panels and red stitching on the steering wheel and seats. In fact, it's the only version to come with a Sport mode.
The Urban Line, on the other hand, is more refined and cultured for luxury and poise. It might not have a Sport mode and wear smaller 17-inch rims, but it looks dressed up for a gala with its chrome grill and silver accents front and rear. It even wears the same silver motif inside.
And bringing up the rear was the lone 116i in the group, which had neither the Sport nor Urban's striking personalities and instead cruised along in stealth.
Living the Good Life
Upon our arrival in Hacienda Isabella, we were greeted by Tagaytay's cool weather and even more delectable treats from our host. It was also a good chance for us to stretch our legs from the drive and enjoy the ground's lush scenery. Plus, there were more activities in store for the group to highlight the 1 Series' different personalities later on.
To focus on its Urban aspect, we were educated in the different types and ways of brewing coffee. And just like an espresso, the 1 Series takes skill to prepare, comes in a small package, and meant to be enjoyed in a relaxing café. But after that soothing session, they let us loose behind the wheel of 1/10th scale R/C drifters to get our hearts pumping and explore the Sporty slice of life. We went gung-ho on these tiny BMW's and raced sideways on a small track.
Ironically, as an experienced R/C racer and racing enthusiast, I find on-the-limit driving pleasurable, whereas an overdose of caffeine usually gets me palpitating and hyperactive. This just illustrates how the 1 Series' two distinct lines can fit different characters.
Compared to the model it replaces, the all-new 1 Series has grown a little bigger, a little stronger, and a little wiser. In fact, it's 85 mm longer and 17 mm wider, which meant that front passengers no longer rubbed elbows and people at the back can now sit more comfortably - a big relief for me, Bam, and the cameraman who took up the rear seat.
Whist riding shotgun in the first leg of the trip, I discovered that BMW has managed to improve on its iDrive interface and made scrolling through the digital menu a lot easier. And to keep myself entertained, I then fiddled with the front seats and learned that there's a section that can be extended for more thigh support.
When it was my turn behind the wheel, I focused my attention on its different driving modes - Eco Pro, Comfort, and Sport. Eco Pro claims to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 20% by damping the throttle input of your lead foot, advancing shift points, and turning off the air conditioner whenever possible, while Comfort mode simply reduces the driving aids of Eco Pro to give a more balanced experience. Both modes also turned off the engine when we came to a standstill as a function of the Auto Start/Stop feature, but it had a bad habit of jerking the entire car whenever it restarted. Thus, my favorite mode of all was Sport, which not only sharpens up the throttle response, but also stiffens up the suspension so much so that it now feels more alive. Finicky passengers though might not appreciate the Sport mode's firmer ride.
Life Changing Choices
There's absolutely nothing dirty about diesel. The 118d comes with a 2.0L four-cylinder unit with TwinPower Turbo technology that produces 141 horsepower and 320 Nm of torque. But just like all diesels, its power-band is low in the rev range - something not even its seamless eight speed transmission could do anything about. Still, there's plenty of grunt available on tap especially with the Sport mode on. It can even achieve 13km/L on mixed city and highway driving.
Whether you prefer the Sport or Urban Line, all in all, the all-new BMW 1 Series is a great ride. It's no longer perceived as the entry-level BMW that its processor once used to be. Instead, it now comes in three different fancy flavors to fit today's highly personalized lifestyle. And with only a P200,000 difference between the versions, which one you'll drive home with is now only a matter of personal choice.