The 116d Efficient Dynamics continues BMW's trend of confusing petrolheads with its badge designation and engine capacities. Up until this facelift, all diesel 1 Series variants were powered by 2.0-litre motors, including the 116d. This is no longer the case.
As previously mentioned, the 116d Efficient Dynamics is now powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-pot diesel engine, with the rest of the diesel range staying loyal to the 2.0-litre capacity. The base 116d now develops 114bhp, the 118d has been upped to 147bhp and the 120d now pumps out 187bhp. The diesel flagship 125d (still in 2.0-litre form) develops a considerable 221bhp.
Buyers seeking a petrol 1 Series have the choice of the 1.6-litre, three-cylinder, 134bhp 118i and 174bhp 120i - the 2.0-litre 125i with 214bhp and of course, the ballistic M140i with its 335bhp 3.0-litre twin turbocharged straight six engine.
Just by being a diesel BMW, the 116d Efficient Dynamics comes into this section with a heavy weight of expectation hung, albatross-like, around its neck, but with only three cylinders to call its own, it might not initially inspire the utmost confidence.
The new 1.5-litre triple, however, proves to be a credit to both the car and the BMW brand, delivering admirably peppy and flexible power combined with strong real-world economy and an industrious brand of likeability.
BMW’s six-speed manual gearbox is certainly an acquired taste, though, and it’s the only transmission on offer if you want the 89g/km of the EfficientDynamics Plus model.
The springy, notchy, occasionally fussy shift feel will be instantly familiar to long-time BMW owners, but the EfficientDynamics model’s low-resistance gearbox oil only serves to exacerbate the unit’s stubbornness – particularly when starting from cold.
Once you get used to the deliberate force required to change gears with any confidence, there’s the gearing to get on terms with. With a taller final drive than that of the regular 116d, the EfficientDynamics model feels extremely long-legged.
Around town, you’ll seldom get out of third gear, while sixth is too tall for even moderate motorway acceleration. As such, regular cog-swapping is necessary if you want to combine good economy with equally good ground-covering pace.