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      10-18-2013, 07:33 PM   #1
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Post 116d Mt Vs 125d At

Hi Guys, just wanted to tell you all about a test drive I had 2 days ago. My own car is a 1year old 116D ED, it has no "lines" and of course no M sport package as that is not available on the Eff. Dynamics. I do have leather seats, radio pro, bluetooth, sunroof, xenons and some other options. Overall, I am very pleased with the car. It is ofcourse a very sensible car, with very low diesel consumpsion and due to the 99g CO2/Km its relatively cheap on tax. Despite all this, when I put it in sport mode, it has quite some punch also, so I enjoy driving it a lot and am among the quicker cars on the road due to my driving style most of the time (that is untill I meet a real car like a 330D or so )
I was at my dealer the other day to check out the new 4 series and started talking with my salesperson, with whom I get along with quite well, so I could arrange a test drive in a 125D the next day. I actually asked for a 120D as that is more likely to be my next car in a couple of years (or maybe a 220D but I expect the engines to be the same) but they only had the 125D with AT.

I got to say, that car was really nice to drive! It was almost full option I think, had the sport line (liked the sport steering wheel a lot!), leather, xenon, sunroof and navi Pro (the old one, without touch controlls). So in terms of cabin comfort, it didn't add much to my own car. Except for the navi pro wich I liked to play around with, but don't miss in my own car.
The engine is a fantastic piece of work in the 125D, it has loads of power and torque and it just keeps on going and going. while doing 120(Kmh) on the motorway and pushing the pedal all the way down, it went 10kmh faster every second (I stopped at 170 though..). Really amazing, really nice to drive, has more than enough power to confidently overtake whenever you like, something I do miss in my own car a bit.

The Auto transmission however, is another story. It had the standard, not the sport, but I had it in sport mode the whole time, so I suspect it would't make much difference. While it uses the gears very well, shifts down almost instantly when you floor the gas pedal, shifts up nice and smooth in normal driving... I missed my manual transmission so much! It just takes away all the fun and all the controll you have as a driver! it is such a strange feeling to not being able to controll the car with the clutch pedal, whether when driving fast, approaching a corner, or simply when you're waiting at the lights.. you just have no decision whatsoever as to how many revs to put the car in.. I never tought I would find it that bad, I always assumed that one day I would own an AT myself, but now I hope I never have to!

The other thing I noticed was that the brakes (standard) weren't really up to the task and I was wondering if a car like the 125D would really need the Msport brakes to be good. but when I returned it, there was a guy who had just test driven an M135i and had the same complaint. The BMW guy said that the brakes on test vehicles usually arent that great because they get used to hard straight from the start, without being able to gradually brake in, as you would do with your own car.. May make sense I suppose...

So, if I have the money in a couple of years I would defenitely buy an 125/225D. If not it will have to be a 120/220D. But most defenitely a MANUAL TRANSMISSION for me!

I was wondering if anyone has tested the 120D against the 125D and if there's a lot of difference between the 2? Or is it just that the 120D needs more revs to reach more or less the same power due to the 1 Turbo VS the 2 Turbos in the 125D(which is what the BMW guy at the test center told me..??)

Anyway, thanks for reading this long post guys ! Let me know if you have any questions!
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Last edited by Math; 10-18-2013 at 07:40 PM.
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      10-19-2013, 12:32 PM   #2
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That 125d sounded really sweet. The 25d engine is only available in the X1 here and that is really fast. So I can't imagine how quick the little 1 series felt, especially considering its weight.

It also sounds like you have a lot of fun in your 116d. Turbodiesel cars usually always feel faster in the daily grind due to the instantaneous torque. The pull from them is also quite impressive and it is really addictive. No wonder you drive like a maniac!

BMW brakes are usually paired well with the cars and I'm surprised that they felt inadequate. But the 125d is pretty quick, so it's somewhat understandable.

The 120d should be more than enough, but the 125d has so much more torque, that it's hard to resist.

I was surprised to find out that the 125d does indeed have two separate turbos, unlike the one twinscroll turbo in the 120d. I thought that you dealer was lying to you or something, but it is true.
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      10-19-2013, 12:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Anodite10 View Post
Turbodiesel cars usually always feel faster in the daily grind due to the instantaneous torque. The pull from them is also quite impressive and it is really addictive.
I think the modern petrol turbo engines in the F20/F21 range feel a lot like turbo diesel engines in this respect. They are tuned for economy, and have a lot of boost at low RPM. It makes them faster than you would expect by looking at the peak power figures.
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      10-19-2013, 12:53 PM   #4
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I think the modern petrol turbo engines in the F20/F21 range feel a lot like turbo diesel engines in this respect. They are tuned for economy, and have a lot of boost at low RPM. It makes them faster than you would expect by looking at the peak power figures.
Yeah, looking at the peak power for petrol turbos, they are indeed at low rpms. They are also very close to the fuel efficiency of the diesels. This was definitely not so a few years ago. Modern turbopetrols brings together everything that you would want together in a fun package.
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      10-19-2013, 01:02 PM   #5
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I agree with you, a 116d with manual is actually very fun. I got one as a work car! More power does not always equal more fun.
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      10-19-2013, 08:39 PM   #6
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I agree with you, a 116d with manual is actually very fun. I got one as a work car! More power does not always equal more fun.
So how would you say the 116d compares to the 120d you drive? Are both manuals or is the 120d an automatic?
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      10-19-2013, 08:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ovekvam View Post
I think the modern petrol turbo engines in the F20/F21 range feel a lot like turbo diesel engines in this respect. They are tuned for economy, and have a lot of boost at low RPM. It makes them faster than you would expect by looking at the peak power figures.
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Yeah, looking at the peak power for petrol turbos, they are indeed at low rpms. They are also very close to the fuel efficiency of the diesels. This was definitely not so a few years ago. Modern turbopetrols brings together everything that you would want together in a fun package.
Yes, I test drove an 116i before buying my car last year and it did feel a lot like a diesel to drive, which is something I like! The main reason I got a diesel is the mileage and price of diesel compared to fuel (over here its about 1.4eur/l for diesel and 1.55eur/l for fuel95). I can easily do 900Kms with one full tank and if I try hard, make it to 1100.
Ovekvam, what do you reckon is the mileage on your 116i in normal driving?
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      10-20-2013, 01:06 AM   #8
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Yes, I test drove an 116i before buying my car last year and it did feel a lot like a diesel to drive, which is something I like! The main reason I got a diesel is the mileage and price of diesel compared to fuel (over here its about 1.4eur/l for diesel and 1.55eur/l for fuel95). I can easily do 900Kms with one full tank and if I try hard, make it to 1100.
Ovekvam, what do you reckon is the mileage on your 116i in normal driving?
When I drive longer trips with low Norwegian speed limits, the best consumption is around 5 liters per 100 km. For semi urban driving just in the local area, it ends up around 7 liters per 100 km. So I guess normal driving would be somewhere between those two. At race tracks, it drinks 20 liters per 100 km!

I have also driven 1000+ km on one fuel tank, but this requires a rather economic driving style.
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      10-20-2013, 04:51 AM   #9
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So how would you say the 116d compares to the 120d you drive? Are both manuals or is the 120d an automatic?
Well my 120d i speced with sport auto, adaptive suspention, sportsteering and much more. The 116d is entry level, however, the 116d beeing so fun to drive was the reason I bought the 120d.

I would say the acceleration is much better on the 120d, it feels powerfull on the motorway, instantly overtaking other cars. The autobox is also VERY good on the 120d, in sport mode it hurls you away and gearchanges are quick. In comfort / eco mode it is very relaxing, not noticing the changes.

Actually, I would also find it very hard to choose. Diesel consumption is about 0.5 with both cars. The 116d is more than powerfull enough for my driving.. the 120d is simply more fun.

Another reason i bought the 120D was the ability of having the sport paddels.. I have a thing for paddelshifters ;-)

Well, this did not help you at all did it? :-P
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      10-20-2013, 05:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Anodite10 View Post
Yeah, looking at the peak power for petrol turbos, they are indeed at low rpms. They are also very close to the fuel efficiency of the diesels. This was definitely not so a few years ago. Modern turbopetrols brings together everything that you would want together in a fun package.
The petrol models can be almost as economical as the diesels, but only if driven less enthusiastically. Plant your foot like you may be used to doing in a diesel and economy suffers much more.
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      10-20-2013, 09:29 AM   #11
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The petrol models can be almost as economical as the diesels, but only if driven less enthusiastically. Plant your foot like you may be used to doing in a diesel and economy suffers much more.
Completely true!
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      10-20-2013, 07:27 PM   #12
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Well my 120d i speced with sport auto, adaptive suspention, sportsteering and much more. The 116d is entry level, however, the 116d beeing so fun to drive was the reason I bought the 120d.

I would say the acceleration is much better on the 120d, it feels powerfull on the motorway, instantly overtaking other cars. The autobox is also VERY good on the 120d, in sport mode it hurls you away and gearchanges are quick. In comfort / eco mode it is very relaxing, not noticing the changes.

Actually, I would also find it very hard to choose. Diesel consumption is about 0.5 with both cars. The 116d is more than powerfull enough for my driving.. the 120d is simply more fun.

Another reason i bought the 120D was the ability of having the sport paddels.. I have a thing for paddelshifters ;-)

Well, this did not help you at all did it? :-P
Yes it did thanks for the explanation!
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      10-21-2013, 01:53 AM   #13
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You should try the sport auto box. It's a completely different story.
I drove the 125d MT and I did not think the manual was suited for the engine.
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      10-21-2013, 12:00 PM   #14
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Im with you on that the 116d is a really nice drive. It really feels strong in the range were you normally uses the power. And also even if you drive it like you stole it the consumption is really good.

The Sportauto (2TB) is basically the same as the normal 8-speed auto except you get paddles and a bit more aggressive software. When you drive it in manual mode it doesn't change up, and it blips the throttle on downshifts. There is a guy here on the forum who coded 2TB and added paddles to his 118i F20. So if you didn't like the normal auto, you won't like the sportauto.
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      10-21-2013, 08:15 PM   #15
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So if you didn't like the normal auto, you won't like the sportauto.
That's what I think. I do recognise the fact that for an auto box, it does its job really, really well.
It's just the lack of involvement and driver-feeling I miss so much in an AT, no matter how good it is..
It's all up to personal taste isn't it? Would I drive in heavy stop&go traffic every day to work & back, I even might consider it, but I don't so..


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And also even if you drive it like you stole it the consumption is really good.
Hehe, nicely said
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      10-21-2013, 08:19 PM   #16
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I drove the 125d MT and I did not think the manual was suited for the engine.
Why would you say that? I think every car should work well with a manual, no..? Or maybe you just don't know how to drive one? -just kidding -

Where did you test drive the 125d with MT? Was it in Bornem? Cause I think my dealer told me they only have the one there that I test drove..
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      10-23-2013, 06:22 AM   #17
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Why would you say that? I think every car should work well with a manual, no..? Or maybe you just don't know how to drive one? -just kidding -

Where did you test drive the 125d with MT? Was it in Bornem? Cause I think my dealer told me they only have the one there that I test drove..
This is my 4th car and my first auto, so I know how to drive stick ;-)
I drove a 125d MT they had at Bornem, it was a EB with full M-Performance.
If you're pushing it, the manual needs too much attention. I prefer to be able to focus on the road and what's happening with the car than having to waste time shifting gears. Maybe it was because of the M-Performance gear knob which is an extremely short and small gear knob. Also, I drive about 600km/week and a great part of that in heavy traffic so I prefer an automatic when I'm in the traffic jams.

The automatic shifts faster than you can with the manual. Fuel consumption is lower because you have 8 gears in stead of 6. Gear shifting in Sport and Sport+ is swift and correct.

Nothing to hate about the auto box, even though I was a manual lover
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      10-23-2013, 06:48 AM   #18
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If you're pushing it, the manual needs too much attention. I prefer to be able to focus on the road and what's happening with the car than having to waste time shifting gears.
I think shifting gears is a background task for most drivers, so it does not really demand any conscious thoughts when pushing the car to the limit. When I am autocrossing, and I come to a hairpin turn, my body will automatically downshift with uncoordinated rev matching to induce some oversteer. I don't have to think about that. It just happens, since I have done it so many times before. It is just like walking, where each step is automatic. You just think about where to go, and it happens.

If I am in a car with automatic transmission, it feels like some of my tools are missing. I can't do an uncoordinated shift anymore. I simply have less control of the car.
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      10-23-2013, 10:20 AM   #19
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And some people are the same way with the auto. Left foot brake right foot on the throttle :-)
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      10-23-2013, 11:31 AM   #20
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I drove a 125d MT they had at Bornem, it was a EB with full M-Performance.
Someone must have crashed that car because its no longer available to test
I actually saw someone leaving with an M5 the day I was there and 30 mins later I saw the car on the side of the A12 completely crashed and missing a rear wheel! I suppose it happens to often with test cars...

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If you're pushing it, the manual needs too much attention. I prefer to be able to focus on the road and what's happening with the car than having to waste time shifting gears. Maybe it was because of the M-Performance gear knob which is an extremely short and small gear knob. Also, I drive about 600km/week and a great part of that in heavy traffic so I prefer an automatic when I'm in the traffic jams.

The automatic shifts faster than you can with the manual. Fuel consumption is lower because you have 8 gears in stead of 6. Gear shifting in Sport and Sport+ is swift and correct.

Nothing to hate about the auto box, even though I was a manual lover
I can see your point, I can appreciate that the auto box works as a charm, i just dont feel it like that..
I have to go with Ovekvam on this one, it all just comes naturally without thinking. Especially in daily driving, not even talking about the track driving he does..

Anyway, so long as you're happy with your amazing car and the transmission in it, thats the main thing!
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      10-24-2013, 02:07 AM   #21
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I drove a MINI for 4 years so I'm used to a nice manual box, also in 'spirited driving'. I just didn't feel it in the 125D Everybody has their own feelings about the same car, as long as we're all happy BMW drivers
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      10-25-2013, 03:59 AM   #22
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I always wished i'd ordered my 125d with the auto box.... that was until I drove an auto. The sport mode holds onto gears far too long for a diesel, the normal mode was a bit too subtle for me and changing manually with the paddles is a horrible detached experience.

I've been a long time supporter of autos suiting diesel engines well but I felt in this instance it actually worked better in the petrols. I feel the opposite way about the VAG DSG set up. It works well in the petrols but is an essential option in their diesel cars in my opinion.

In saying all this, the manual box in the 125d is typically BMW i.e. it's a bit of a notchy horrible thing with a heavy clutch. I just wish they could have made it as smooth as the manual in the M135i. The only times I find myself wishing I had the auto are when i'm stuck in traffic but in those instances I could be driving a 250 GTO and still wish it was auto as clutches and stirring boxes just become a pain when you are stop start.

I agree fully about the brakes. I didn't spec the M performance brakes as i suspected they would be overkill on that car. When you are making progress on a twisty road they soon start to show their limit. I can't say how much better the M brakes would be though. As for the performance. Compared to the 120d there is plenty of difference the same as if you go 118d to 120d. You can rev the 120d as much as you want, it won't ever do 0-60 40-60 60-80 (mph) in the times the 125d does so I don't really understand what your salesman was saying. My only gripe with the 125d is that the engine mapping could in fact be a bit more hooligan. I ran a box on mine for a very short time and it opened my eyes to what the engine could do. I'd be happy to trade a bit of fuel economy as the car is way more economical than I ever expected it to be.
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