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ROAM WITH THE BOWEN’S

From Late June

BOWEN DRIVES

FOUR NEW CARS A WEEK!

 

BMW 218i Gran Coupe

September 10, 2020
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Bowen

Bowen's Report Card


BMW 218i Gran Coupe

THE BOWEN SCORE

There has been a long-held notion that all BMW drivers are wankers. It reminds me of the olden days when anyone using a mobile phone was labelled a yuppie. The world really can be a cruel placeHowever, let it be known that I’m a BMW fan, so troll me if you wish. But I’ve discovered some more turmoil, but this time it’s fan against fan. The BMW 218i Gran Coupe has arrived and I’ve driven it to see why the haters are going to hate. 

Performance

Let’s just cut to the chase now, the 218i is front-wheel drive. Plus, it’s powered by a mere trio of cylinders. But rest assured there’s still a turbo for the 1.5-litre with outputs of 103kW / 220Nm.  

I view the 218i as a compact three series, it still has four doors and a boot. Having spawned from the BMW 1 series, the 228i was destined to be smallishBut entering the BMW scene via the 218i Gran Coupe is no crime, far from it.  

BMW’s renowned handling and body control have thankfully been installed. For the vast majority of time most drivers would be oblivious that power is being sent to the wrong end. You still feel every piece of road being transmitted to your paws. Frankly I was very surprised at just how ferociously the car is able to tackle a corner, when things get spirited.  

The ride is firm, in fact on some surfaces, it is almost unacceptably rigid. I live 60-kilometres from the Sydney CBD a mate of mine calls its rural NSW. Hardly the case, but the roads are very different to those found closer to metropolitan Sydney. 

The seven-speed dual-clutch works well, with lightening quick shifts with no hesitation, which is rare for a dual clutch. 

It offers genuine BMW performance, but in a “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” kind of way. 

Value for money 

This is where I personally start to go blue, for a cheap BMW the 218i Gran Coupe is bloody expensive. Especially when you go mad and tick every option box. $47,990 sounds good to me, but the car I drove was $53,190 before on-roads. 

Right now, BMW is offering a finance deal of $54,900 drive away. That’s hard to swallow, but how cheap can BMW go with actually being viewed as cheap? 

Direct rivals vary in body shape, from a Mini to a Golf and perhaps the Mercedes-Benz A200. Each hover around the $50k and below mark.  

Comfort  

It’s a cosy fit up front with sport-like seats, you may prefer the sunroof is open as the cabin is a little claustrophobic. The back row is fine but given this is based on a hatchback realistically you know it isn’t going to be a people mover. Having said that, the boot is huge at 430-litres. 

The 10.25-inch touchscreen is very large, for any car. It’s ultra-sharp and quick. The seventh-generation software is one of the few I’d be happy to use. But with wireless Apple CarPlay at my disposal that wouldn’t happen. Android Auto people, (who I consider to be heretics) are also catered for.   

The ambinant light system turns the 218i Gran Coupe to a nightclub on wheels. Little touches like casting the stylised BMW logo onto the ground in lieu of a puddle light is tops. 

Safety   

This actual model is yet to obtain a safety rating from ANCAP but given the 1 Series hatch scored five stars I’m tipping that will be the case here too. The car is brimming with driver assist functions that use sensors, radar and cameras. You’re literally protected forward, sideward and rearward by a magic shield. 

What I love 

I love the fact that this may make the brand more obtainable for some. Up the 2 series tree are xDrive and M models but you’ll rocket past $70K in that pursuit. 

The Bowen Report Card 

The BMW 218i Gran Coupe will not be held in high esteem by traditionalists but after a solid week in one I’ll say this. If it looks like a BMW, drives like a BMW than it’s a bloody BMW, right? It’s an 85 out of 100 from me.