Owning a BMW 116i: 10 years & 45,000 km with the RWD hatchback

The design language on this car is surely reminiscent of the BMW sports coupe from that era.

BHPian n:CorE recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

45,000 kms Update

The car is running beautifully and loving the cold and dense winter air. Just did a Mumbai-Pune-Mumbai trip this weekend. Unlimited thrills while still managing an amazing fuel economy figure of 13 km/l. The car is properly hooked up - fast, agile, communicative (and therefore predictable). Simply sticking to your line through the twisties in Lonavala is exhilarating.

The almost 10-year-old paintwork on the car was not in great shape. A full body respray was on the cards for me for a while. The 116 just got a whole lot sexier with an overcoat in her original Valencia Orange shade. A truly iconic BMW colour, and especially after seeing it pop now, I am glad I resisted the temptation to change it up. I chose to go with gunmetal wheels and accents to complete the look. I have the badges finished in gunmetal as well. Do you guys think I should put those on, or let her be de-badged?


Here's what BHPian shankar.balan had to say on the matter:

Superb. I resonate with you since I have a pre-owned 10-year-old Cooper S (R56) and the feeling is much the same even though that is FWD.

This 116i is another rare bird, a modern classic in India and hence, a keeper. That RWD train and ZF AT gearbox are just lovely. Can only wish they had brought in the 135i too. Incidentally, even its brother, that 118d, though a diesel, was something else in terms of responsiveness.

I have always been enamoured of the Z4M with its hard top and long bonnet and blistering performance and the 116i in India, somehow evoked those cues in part.

I would suggest that you should keep the badges on your car.

Here's BHPian n:CorE's reply:

The R56 Cooper S & this car share the exact same engine, it is just packaged transversely for FWD, as is characteristic of a Mini! What is the gearbox experience like with the Aisin 6-speed Automatic? Have you ever considered a transmission swap to a 6-speed manual? I really did toy with that idea but the ZF is just too good and convenient to give up.

Plonk a B58 in this chassis, change up a few parts and voila, it can very well become an M140i. I have been following salvage parts dealers on Instagram for the sole reason of finding a B58 engine (in good shape) someday.

I am really amazed at how little people know about this car and the fact that it was even sold to us here in India. I've seen posts on Instagram by Indian "auto-influencers" who continue to identify the 1-series as an X1.

You have hit the hammer on the nail by bringing up the Z4 M Coupe. Short wheelbase, long bonnet & a sweptback silhouette. The design language on this car is surely reminiscent of the BMW sports coupe from that era.

It certainly has all the makings of a modern classic BMW, especially here in India. I am going to hold on to the only RWD hatchback in existence, for a long long while to come!

I guess I had seen an ad on our classifieds page a while ago, are you still looking to sell your Mini or did you have a change of heart? Given that it has the same engine as my car, feel free to share your stories and experiences with your little beast on here as well!

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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