BMW’s 114d cost-cutter

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It might be the entry level 1 Series diesel but the 114d isn’t the eco champ of the range - that honour goes to the 99g/km 116d EfficientDynamics.

At 112g/km and 65.7mpg, however, the 114d is going to be inexpensive to run and is available in 3 and 5-door body styles. The 114d slots in as the entry level point in the 1 Series diesel range and its engine bears a good degree of similarity to the other diesels on offer. It’s a 1.6-litre unit but in this case makes a mere 95bhp which isn’t going to underscore BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine credo too wholeheartedly. So it proves against the clock as well, registering 12.2 seconds to 62mph.

The 1 Series has always been distinguished by the quality of its driving dynamics and it’s good to see that BMW hasn’t been tempted to compromise on its principles. Although there has been rumour of forthcoming front-wheel drive versions, right now the 1 Series remains rear-wheel drive. That’s a bit of a disaster in terms of packaging but it makes for a nicely balanced car. After all, there’s no drive going to the wheels doing the steering, which delights the purist. Mind you, when you’ve only got 95bhp to contend with, that’s not so much of an issue. Chassis technology is so good these days that this car could probably divert all that to one front wheel and still drive well. Still, the 114d is the only rear-wheel drive car in its class, and some people still count rear wheel drive as the right wheel drive.

One consequence of running a transmission tunnel through a hatchback model as compact as this one has been rather compromised accommodation. While this fundamental issue hasn’t gone away with this second generation 1 Series, BMW has loosened this model’s belt a little. It’s 83mm longer, 14mm wider and 30mm longer in the wheelbase than the car it replaced. This means that rear-seat passengers benefit from a further 20mm of legroom. In addition, there’s a good deal more storage space.

The 114d isn’t the most impressive model in the 1 Series line up. It does a job, it’s reasonably cost-effective and will put a BMW on people’s drives for a modest sum, but it’s a vehicle that is more interesting in what it says about the marque. Here’s a car that looks to undercut its key rivals by offering less in the way of engine. This isn’t clever downsizing, like some of the 1.2 turbo petrol units we’ve seen: it’s merely cost cutting.

Ultimately, what matters is that this will be an inexpensive car to run.

It can look tempting against Focuses and Astras that will cost a good deal more to own over a three year period, something that will sway the decision for many.