This week at the UK motoring media launch of a variety of new BMW models and derivatives were the new 'little' and 'large' models in the range arriving in time for the UK's new '62' plate registration month of September.
The 'little' of this entertaining duo is the tax efficient 116d EfficientDynamics five door Sports Hatch priced from £20,885 but the big figure is the small amount of CO2 emissions at 99g/km, the first ever BMW car to get below the 100g/km target.
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Engine and performance
The 1.6-litre, four cylinder turbodiesel engine produces 116hp with peak torque of 260Nm from 1,750rpm. It is a scaled down version of BMW's 2.0-litre 320d ED unit which produces 109g/km and on my recent week long test driving experience returned an amazing 66mpg.
There is obviously keen demand from business and fleet customers because the 320d Ed saloon has become the best selling 3-Series model in the UK.
What the low 99g/km figure results in for retail and business users is £0 cost for VED road tax, only 13 per cent Benefit-in-Kind tax, it's free of the London Congestion Charge and for businesses the price of the car can be written down by 100 per cent in the first year of ownership.
Officially this model will return 74.3mpg and during my brief test drive around the busy winding country roads of West Sussex the five door 116d ED returned 58.8mpg. I expect more motorway and open road use will improve that to around 70mpg given the performance of its larger 2.0-litre 320 ED unit.
This 1.6-litre ED unit does not achieve is first class fuel economy and low emissions by being a dull unit as top speed is 121mph and zero to 62mph takes an acceptable 10.5 seconds.
With fifth, and in particular sixth gear, being long-legged ratios liberal use of the gearbox is required if quick overtaking engine response is needed but once in top gear and 'cruising' the engine is quiet and of course frugal.
The secret to its miserly fuel use and low emissions is of course BMW's award winning EfficientDynamics technologies featuring extensive use of intelligent energy management systems.
These include Auto Start-Stop function in both manual and automatic transmissions - the latter a first-in-class with eight speeds. There is the ECO PRO mode, activated using the Drive Performance Control fitted as standard. This feature adjusts various on-board systems to maximise efficiency.
When in ECO PRO mode the throttle response is adjusted to encourage a more economical driving style. The extra economy created is fed back to the driver, with the in-car displays showing the additional number of miles achieved.
Other 'eco' features include 16-inch alloy wheels fitted with low rolling resistance tyres, not run-flats, so the ride is more supple than other 1-Series models, although on poorer roads the ride remained on the firm side. Although the second generation 1-Series hatchback is slightly larger than the original, the interior space remains snug.
At no extra cost to buy over the standard 1.6-litre diesel 1-Series model, the new 116d ED is bound to increase sales just as its bigger stablemate 320d ED has done. The fuel economy and the lowest possible taxes make it the most efficient 1-Series yet, indeed the most fuel efficient BMW passenger car to date.
BMW 116d EfficientDynamics 5-Door Sports Hatch
1.6-litre, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel with EfficientDynamics technology, 260Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, 6-speed manual gearbox, rear wheel drive.
121mph, 0-62mph 10.5 seconds, 74.3mpg (58.8mpg on test but expect around 70mph as an estimate), CO2 99g/km, VED road tax £0, BIK company car tax 13%, London Congestion Charge free.
Miserly fuel use, low emissions, low taxes, no price premium for ED technologies.