PH Blog: heart versus head

My beloved PH Fleet Golf GTI is due to return to the Volkswagen Press Office fold in a few short days and, though I will miss it greatly, I might just have found an alternative that - whisper it - pushes my buttons even more.

I know it is wrong to speak ill of the soon-to-be-departed, but the 125i M Sport we had from BMW for a few days recently might just have the Edition 35 licked as far as I'm concerned, speaking entirely subjectively ahead of a 'proper' Driven piece to follow shortly.

Indeed, that's rather the point - from an objective point of view the Golf GTI Edition 35 and the 125i are hard to separate. Both are more or less identical on price once you add a couple of options. Both are near-as-dammit equal on power and performance (218hp, 228lb ft and 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds in the BMW plays 235hp, 221lb ft and 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds in the Golf). Both fit four passengers and luggage (five at a pinch). And both will satisfy the enthusiast in you while returning 30mpg-plus if you're careful, though the 1 Series has a clear edge on the Golf in economy.

On a purely pragmatic basis, then, you would be hard-pressed to say whether the Golf or the BMW is the better car. So why do I like the 1 Series more?

This is where objectivity has to go hang, because the things that make it the car I would choose over the GTI are subjective. The way it smells inside. The slightly pointier, but less surefooted handling. The way it could actually be mistaken for a 116d if it weren't for the M Sport bodykit. The simple fact that I would call myself a 'BMW man', though not a fanboy.

The funny thing is it's these last points, the seemingly inconsequential matters of personal taste, that would be the clincher for me. And probably are in the vast majority of car-buying decisions for the likes of us. Care to share yours?

If you take only one thing from this blog, then, let it be this: we can only say that the BMW 125i M Sport is definitively better than the Golf GTI Edition 35 if you happen to be me. Because, for those of us who care about cars, our final choice is always subjective.



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Comments (89) Join the discussion on the forum

  • cris9964 30 Jun 2012

    Antj said:
    m135i is available in 3 and 5 door mate
    Yep, sorry, stand corrected. 6.5 to 60 and 150+ mph for a road car is fine....(will miss the "6 cyl" though)

  • Olf 29 Jun 2012

    MSTRBKR said:
    Maybe these 2012 90 days in service reliability scores can tip the scales. Enlightening stuff for some here I think.

    Maybe I'm being thick (drunk) but even the best mota is showing 70 odd problems per 100 cars? Message from that is CARS are unreliable?

  • Olf 29 Jun 2012

    sorry but as the owner of a mk6 golf gti. You have to be having a laugh about the economy?! Drive in anything other than granny mode and you're in the early 20's.

  • Antj 29 Jun 2012

    cris9964 said:
    I'm with Riggers... I really like them in the flesh.

    Just ordered this car. Speaking with a good friend at BMW HQ this engine (I know 4 cyl but thats progress I suppose), is brand new, full of their best tech and occupies a good middle ground in terms of performance.

    I'm using it for local driving and the view on the 135i is absolutely quicker and more evocative, but 80kgs more over the front wheels, and an economy headache. I also have 2 kids and four doors would be nice..(135i, no rear doors).

    Added into this, sub 5% APR PCP deals right now on the 4 cyl model and its a no brainer. Im not into the estoril blue, so toned the colour down and I think its a bit of a sleeper.

    Runflats will be off asap and I think it could "chip" nicely, looking at the output of the new 328i (4cyl!) - fully insured of course -

    Edited by cris9964 on Thursday 28th June 11:14
    m135i is available in 3 and 5 door mate

  • AdamPT 28 Jun 2012

    Kolbenkopp said:
    Totally agree on the heart vs. head bit: IMVHO, cars today are objectively speaking so good that all of the "getting from A to B", running costs, practicality and other issues etc. are pretty much irrelevant and the "seemingly inconsequential matters of personal taste" become the really important, deciding factors.

    With the two boxes discussed it would have to be the Golf, simply because I find the styling less offensive and there's otherwise not much in it.

    The real winner would be an E87 130i though. How much are these in the UK at the moment? Probably less than a week of depreciation on either a new Golf or 1-Series...
    I sold mine last year, a 56 reg with 30k on the clock for 11k. I think I did well considering what they go for now. It was a brilliant car except it was stiffer than a 14year old on a nudist beach. Speed bumps required crawling over. The engine was a total gem and it felt a whole lot more plush inside than a mates R32. Definately recommend but better if you live out of town.

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