I purchased my 2014 BMW 116i in late 2014 and overall have been very happy with my decision. I spent about a month looking for a vehicle to replace my 2011 Audi A3 and after many vehicles being considered, I ended up buying the 1 Series. Looked at SP25 Astina, A3, A-Class and more, and it turned out the BMW was the cheapest, and the best to drive in the end.
I went into my BMW dealer looking for a 118i, but ended up walking out with a 116i that was nearly perfectly optioned for much less. As a daily driver, I didn't need the small extra performance that the 118i offered really, and the cost difference was not worth it.
The ride and handling combination of the car is superb! It rides the rough roads beautifully and handles my favorite twisties the same. A beautiful small, RWD package that any keen driver would be happy to own. Backing up this excellent combination, is another excellent combination with the 1.6 Turbo and the 8-Speed ZF. This is an excellent paring that could not be better. The great unit under the bonnet provides more than enough for the daily grind, and provides an entertaining companion when having a bit of fun. As someone who came from an Audi with DSG issues, being use to DSG quirks and quibbles, this is a true breath of fresh air coming to the BMW for the transmission. The ZF box is smooth, quiet and always finds the right gear for the situation. The way the vehicle drove was well ahead of the rest I tested before purchasing.
My specific vehicle has many options, and with the specification it is just lovely inside. It feels very premium, better than the A-Class and Mazda 3, and about on par to the Audi. I must say, the base trim in the 116i felt very ordinary though. You have to play with the options to get a car that feels as a BMW should inside. Mine has full Oyster Dakota Leather and the wood interior trim, Convenience Package (Light and Rain Sensor, Anti-Dazzle rear view mirror), Comfort Package (Electric Seats, Heated Seats, Comfort Access), Through Loading System, Lights Package as well as Tyre Pressure Monitoring as there is no spare. Its a LOT of options on the vehicle, but with the amazing discount I was offered, I purchased the lot under $40,000 with the vehicle being a registered demo. The vehicle only had 67kms on the clock when I picked it up, so was practically a brand new car. And I also got 5 years free servicing to back it up included. Overall, I am extremely happy with the deal and car I ended up with!
After now having the car for 5 months, and clocking up 5,000kms, I have found a few things I dislike about the 116i. First thing is the lack of rear room. This is not a car for carrying 4 adults in comfort. It's fine for me, doing the daily grind by myself and then having one passenger maybe on a daily basis, but don't bring all your friends along. Second thing I have found annoying is the Start/Stop System. Its very jerky on takeoff in traffic, and lurches the vehicle. I always now turn it off when I get in.
Thirdly, I have not been impressed with the fuel economy. I can drive it very lightly and only achieve early 7's on the daily drive at best. My overall average since ownership has been 8.2. It should approve according to BMW as the car runs in. Fourthly some options should just be standard, and I am surprised my vehicle didn't have certain things at all. It has manual air con for example, when everything else for the same money has dual zone climate. I have actually become a fan of having the manual adjustment again, and the air con is excellent too. But it really should have dual zone as standard. Auto lights and wipers should be standard too. Funnily, Navigation is standard though and those features aren't. Very weird to me. Lastly though, this is not a pretty car. It's not Fiat Multiplia Ugly, or 2 Series Active Tourer bad, but compared to the A-Class and A3, its very bland and ugly. If looks are a big part of your purchase, consider the M-Sport Exterior package.
Overall, I would recommend the 1 Series as a great vehicle in it's class. I have been very happy so far with my decision. People may just think cars like this are bought for their badge, which many are. But this little Bimmer would satisfy keen drivers needs happily!