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BMW 218i Gran Coupe 2020 review

This car will make you feel like you did pre-kids.

This is a fun family car, isn’t it! It’s a sedan, for one, which isn’t the usual shape you’d pick for a family car. And it’s bright blue. Well, this one is, and it was certainly catching eyes on the street this week. But is it functional for a family? That’s what I’m here to report. 

The BMW 218i Gran Coupe is in competition with the Mercedes CLA 200 and this base model starts at $47,990 - which I would say is good value for a BMW and almost $12,000 cheaper than the Mercedes, even though the latter has more inclusions. 

Here’s how it performed for this week’s family review. 

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✅ How does it look?

It’s a snazzy looking vehicle, no doubt about that. Rather than appearing classic and conservative which is how some BMWs can come across, this is very modern and slick, with a sporty exterior that oozes good style.

  • The 218i is a snazzy looking vehicle. The 218i is a snazzy looking vehicle.
  • It's very modern and slick. It's very modern and slick.
  • The sporty exterior that oozes good style. The sporty exterior that oozes good style.
  • It’s a small car but it doesn’t feel super tiny. It’s a small car but it doesn’t feel super tiny.
  • The 'Enhancement Package' includes the metallic paint. The 'Enhancement Package' includes the metallic paint.

This model is way more Michael Ross from Suits, rather than Harvey Spectre, who would drive the higher model. 

The great design continues inside the car with a sleek look across the dash, metallic accents throughout the interior and high-quality finishes that look long-wearing and worth the dosh. 

The great design continues inside the car with a sleek look across the dash. The great design continues inside the car with a sleek look across the dash.

There is what BMW calls a digital cockpit behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel which looks and feels very 2020, and interior ambient lighting which makes the car feel cool when driving at night. 

This car is fitted with a panoramic sunroof as part of the 'Enhancement Package' which costs $2900 and also includes the metallic paint and 19-inch M light alloy wheels. 

✅ How spacious is it?

It’s a small car but it doesn’t feel super tiny. It fit all four of us comfortably, but there’s no extra space if that’s what you’re looking for in the front seats. The taller members of my family fit perfectly fine and we didn’t feel cramped. 

There’s no extra space if that’s what you’re looking for in the front seats. There’s no extra space if that’s what you’re looking for in the front seats.

It’s just the right size for my two children, aged six and eight, who climbed in easily and felt snug and supported by the seats.

You won’t be able to fit a third child seat across here but adults can fit in the back. I’m 161cm and had enough room to sit comfortably while taller adults might find they are lacking all the head space they’d be after, especially if sitting behind a tall person in the front. 

You won’t be able to fit a third child seat across here but adults can fit in the back. You won’t be able to fit a third child seat across here but adults can fit in the back.

The boot is mostly where the small car part comes in. It’s 430L and will fit the bulky CarsGuide pram, with some limited extra space for school bags and groceries.

  • The boot is 430L. The boot is 430L.
  • The boot will fit the bulky CarsGuide pram, with some limited extra space. The boot will fit the bulky CarsGuide pram, with some limited extra space.
  • The 218i has a power operated tailgate. The 218i has a power operated tailgate.

It’s not huge and doesn’t look like it would cope well with a weekend away, but would be fine as a second runaround car

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

There is a power operated tailgate which is great when you’re approaching the car with a trolley load of groceries, to whip out your key and pop the boot on approach.

The front seats are manually adjustable unless you opt in the 'Comfort Package' for $2300, which includes power adjustable front seats that are also heated and feature lumbar adjustment. 

There are two cupholders in the front, a spot for a phone and keys that is also a Qi (chi) charger, a bottle holder in the two front doors and a centre storage bin.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest. Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest and small storage pockets in the doors. 

✅ How does it drive?

It’s a fun, zippy car that is light to drive and gets around quickly without needing a lot of power or effort to barrel up hills.

The Gran Coupe is a quiet and agile drive. The Gran Coupe is a quiet and agile drive.

It’s quiet and agile, you can duck in and out of traffic easily and it works really nicely as a city runaround car because of its nimbleness and size. 

The steering feels even and it handles well around corners. There’s a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine which is plenty to get you around suburbia. 

There’s a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine. There’s a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine.

Parking is great thanks to the size and it has a high resolution reverse parking camera with guidelines to direct you while reversing. 

The steering feels even and it handles well around corners. The steering feels even and it handles well around corners.

✅ How safe is it?

For advanced safety BMW offers 'Driving Assistant' which includes lane departure warnings, rear cross traffic alert, speed limit information (which pops up on the head up display in the windscreen while driving) and an auto parking assistant.

However, if you want auto emergency braking where the car comes to a complete stop you’ll have to opt in adaptive cruise control for $654. Without it, the ‘City Brake’ system does slow the car down when traveling at urban speeds to prevent a forward collision, but it won’t completely stop. 

There are airbags for driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags for both rows. You’ll also get three top tether points and two ISOFIX points to fix kids car seats in. The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe hasn’t yet been assessed by ANCAP or Euro NCAP.

✅ What's the tech like?

The wide 10.25inch multimedia screen is high-res and looks fabulous. It works with BMW's own multimedia system which includes Bluetooth connectivity, Intelligent Emergency Call and DAB radio.

The wide 10.25inch multimedia screen is high-res. The wide 10.25inch multimedia screen is high-res.

If you want Apple Carplay, you'll have to opt it in for an extra $450. There was no Android Auto on offer at the time of writing. 

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The BMW 218i costs $47,990, before on road costs and extras. This car was fitted with the Enhancement Package for $2900 and the Comfort Package for $2300, which takes the price to $53,190.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 5.9L/100km on the combined cycle.

The BMW 218i costs $47,990, before on road costs and extras. The BMW 218i costs $47,990, before on road costs and extras.

It’s covered BMW’s three year/unlimited km warranty, which includes a 12 year rust warranty and three years of roadside assist. 
 


The Wrap

It’s not exactly the most sizeable family car shape but as a second car it’s spot on to zoom around running errands. It has enough space for a young family of four with a decent boot. It drives well and it’s seriously stylish - this car will make you feel like you’re living pre-kids again, plus it's good value for a BMW.

I gave it a family rating of 7.6 out of 10 and my kids gave it an eight. They are obsessed with this car colour and are insisting I get this paint on my next car. 

Likes

Exterior and interior design
Smooth drive
Good value

Dislikes

No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto as standard
No AEB as standard
Modest rear room

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

4

$69,990

Based on new car retail price

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