Owner Review

2019 BMW 1 M140i Finale Edition review

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When the time came to purchase a new car I initially had my sights set on an A45 / GLA 45 to replace my GLA 250. The M140i was always in the back of my mind as an option, especially if BMW released a performance pack to farewell the outgoing model.

What BMW did release was a Finale edition, which although only cosmetic, included: metallic paint, sunroof, wireless phone charging, smoke taillights, black headlight surrounds, black kidney grille surrounds, dark chrome badging and exhaust tips. There were also special grey coloured rims, although I had these swapped for the black ones, as grey on grey looked odd. With a driveaway price of $59,000 for a brand new M140i I couldn't have been happier.

The choice of colour is very important in a vehicle with proportions such as this. I am a big fan of white cars for the lack of swirl marks and the clean look, but on this body shape it didn't seem right to me. Estoril blue seemed like a popular choice but too common, and the black offered by BMW has a blue in it, which I wasn't a fan of. The mineral grey/black rims combo ticked all the boxes for me.

Inside the vehicle, black leather is a no-brainer for me (as I lug golf clubs around), and aluminium hex inserts in the trim instead of piano black, as it simply scratches just with you looking at it. The seating position is nice and low (the seat almost on the floor) and the wheel is quality to touch. Apple CarPlay isn't required with the latest infotainment, and the stereo is well designed. By having the bass drivers under the front seats the rattle is minimized when the volume is turned up.

A few complaints about the interior, however. The sunvisors are so slim that driving in early morning or late afternoon facing the sun requires me to lift the seat position for the visor to be effective. A display to show the time of travel on the trip computer would be nice, and the omission of blind-spot assist in a car built in 2019 is crazy, considering it has lane departure warning (the steering wheel simply vibrates).

These are all minor quirks however, and when you begin to drive the car in a spirited fashion it all comes together as a complete package. The car is best driven with DSC off unless it's wet, but even then any loss of traction is predictable, even without the mechanical LSD. It might not win the traffic light Grand Prix against its 4WD rivals, but its in-gear acceleration and torque is much better and the car starts to excel at higher speeds.

The adaptive suspension is excellent in soft and firm modes, and much more liveable than, say, an A45 which I borrowed for a few days, leaving me with a smile but also a headache.

Pottering around in Comfort mode makes the exhaust too quiet for my liking. You can't really tell that there are 6 cylinders of inline 6 turbo goodness under the hood unless Sport mode is activated. It would have been nice to have the M Performance exhaust fitted as standard, as it's only the rear muffler piece and slightly larger tips - although with the money saved on the initial price I could have this fitted and still be well ahead.

Don't expect great fuel consumption; I average around 10.1 litres per 100 kilometres, with an average speed of 44-45 km/h.

As the last of its kind, it's sure to be a car that will be recognised in years to come.