BMW 218i Gran Coupe test drive

BMW 218i Gran Coupe test drive

Lower, leaner, and way more attractive than its predecessor, this all-new BMW 2 Series shares almost nothing with its older sibling other than a name. All-new from the ground up, this 2 Series is targeted for Malaysia’s millennial car buyers and may be even some much older drivers looking to re-ignite their classic E30 driving days.

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

The full name given is 2 Series Gran Coupe and it measures 4,526 millimetres in length, 1,800 millimetres in width and stands 1,420 millimetres tall. Despite its low-slung, sporty appearance, passengers are well catered for space-wise, thanks to the 2,670 millimetre wheelbase. Plus, the 430‑litre load compartment can be expanded in various ways.

BMW 218i Gran Coupe cargo space

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe benefits from innovative driver assistance systems filtering down from more expensive siblings. The Lane Departure Warning system with active lane return and collision and pedestrian warning with city braking function are fitted as standard, plus let us not forget Active Cruise Control, the Driving Assistant including Lane Change Warning, rear collision warning and crossing traffic warning.

Expressive

This 2 Series’ cab rearward posture and raked profile further emphasize agility and speed. The dynamic surfaces and the use of just a small number of crisp lines provide the latest evidence of the new BMW design language at work.

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

The BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe has a sporty, low, and broad-set stance on the road. Its confident appearance stems from the dynamic front end with its fresh interpretation of classical BMW icons. The slightly angled headlights with prominent BMW four-eyed face draw attention to the familiar BMW kidney grille.

As on BMW coupes from higher up the model ladder, the grille takes the form of a large and connected element, as well as spreading out further to either side. In a styling tweak unique to the premium-compact four-door coupe, the kidney bars are contoured, an eye-catching vertical indentation in the bars providing a three-dimensional effect when the kidney bars are specified in Aluminium satinated.

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

Enticing

The interior surprises us, starting with the driver-oriented cockpit and the superbike inspired instrument cluster with innovative detail solutions such as the backlit trim strips underscore the modernity of the four-door coupe, while the interplay of different graining effects and texture elements behind the steering wheel, on the instrument panel and on the doors underscores the impression of dynamism and quality.

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

Practical stowage areas further enhance the comfort and convenience factor. The various controls are geared squarely to the driver and grouped clusters make for easy operability.

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

The seat architecture has been redesigned with added focus on comfort and space, while at the same time reducing weight. For example, the front seat backs were further sculpted to provide rear seat passengers more knee room than the previous generation and shoulder room for all passengers increased as well. It should be noted that the driver's seat offers good support while still optimizing the seat back to create a more natural seating position with ample lateral support, a welcome adjustment for those who love long inter-state drives to search for the best local food.

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

Entertaining

Despite the strong competition coming from Mercedes, this new 218i certainly offers a few mouth-watering attention when on the road. Driving manners are impressive from ‘go’ with a cabin that feels solid. The engine note on idle is hardly heard inside, however with the window down the 3-cylinder can be heard ‘trumming’ away which is not the BMW ‘engine sound’ we loved.

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

The steering immediately returns a firm responsive feedback and as you speed up, this BMW gearbox shifts quickly and precisely to obtain the best compromise of power and fuel efficiency. It is a fun compact sedan once you work the engine in ‘Sports’ mode. However, there is just so much you can extract from a 3-cylinder engine.

Still, it is a fun package with handling that is ready for more than the available 138 bhp. We are quite sure up to 200 bhp and 300 Nm of torque can be easily handled by the current chassis, tyre and wheel combination.

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

Conclusion

Although the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz’s all-new A-Class sedan have arrived to challenge this BMW 218i in the premium compact executive sedan, neither can match the 218i in terms of badge branding and desire.

Plus BMW Malaysia has priced this car to be just a notch or two above the Japanese rivals like the Mazda3 and new Honda Civic in price and this gives hope for some Malaysians to get the BMW ‘key’ in their handbag or pocket.

Yes, its RM 199k price-tag (and there is always a hefty discount with all showrooms) and the available BMW financing scheme (Balloon Financing) makes it easy to own in the first year, and then you need to work harder to enjoy this car the following years.

BMW 218i Gran Coupé Specifications

Engine: Inline-3, 12-Valve, DOHC, Petrol, Turbocharged

Capacity: 1,499-cc

Gearbox: 7-speed Steptronic Dual-Clutch Transmission

Max power: 138 hp at 4,600 rpm

Max torque: 220 Nm at 1,480-4,200 rpm

Top Speed: 213 kmph

0-100 kmph: 8.7 seconds

Price: RM 199,177

Also read: All-new Honda City RS test drive review

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