2012 BMW 116i Hatchback

When you have to give up your beloved ride because of overseas job reallocation, bidding farewell is never easy especially for a petrolhead like Sebastian. He has spent a sizeable amount of effort to spruce up his BMW 116i, or as he affectionally puts it, the “white horse”.

Much of the modifications are inspired directly by the 1er bloodline’s current top performer M135i. It also helps when you have a supportive spouse who incidentally is also the chief finance officer to agree on the approval of fund release. But first, being a passionate Liverpool FC husband-and-wife fan team alleviates most disagreements, anyway.

The BMW 1 Series is a compact family hatchback designed to rival the likes of the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class. Despite being the entry-level of the brand, this overall German package is not too shabby. The interior is well-built, handling and engine performance is of BMW benchmark, and we all know where this benchmark stands. With a little “touchup” on this zippy car, the result can be pretty sporty thanks to some clever software management which Sebastian has nicely executed.

By piggy-backing on the available 136 bhp from the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine with Kelleners Sports’ chiptuning setup, an extra 25 horses and 40 Nm torque were extracted. Putting it into sports mode will also make the turbo work harder, resulting in a more responsive drive.

Sebastian has a knack for visual enhancement and performance upgrades too. He upgraded white horse’s stock brakes and rims to M Performance brakes kit and 18″ M135i sports rims respectively.

It is a wholly dedicated transformation with M135i front bumper, side skirts and rear bumper with M Performance rear diffuser. M Performance kidney grilles, door sill, pedal, gear knob, and carbon fibre side mirrors were followed by next.

And it does not stop there. It happens right down to even details like door mats and the full red Dakota leather seats!

We had a chance to be in the car for this shot and was amazed by how solid it felt from the inside. Once the doors closed, there wasn’t hardly any noise from the outside, suggesting a good sound deadening job done. When on the move, the soft engine feedback rumbling was music to the ears too. Manoeuvring around the rear for a shot was also surprisingly unrestrictive – it was pretty spacious for a hatchback of this size.

An enjoyable driving experience is one of the 1er’s biggest selling-points and we are definitely sure Sebastian have had a good and almost visceral one till the end.

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