Some may question the styling of the new 2 Series Gran Coupe, but it sure does begin to grow on you. It's techy, with plenty of interior features. The transmission is smooth and the three-pot does well to convince you there's more under the hood. The 218i sits beside the performance based M235i.
Engine & Drivetrain
Gadgets & Technology
Ride & Comfort
Behind the Wheel
The new 218i Gran Coupe is powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. This three pot puts out 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque.
This is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. The 218i Gran Coupe’s transmission does a great job changing gears smoothly, swiftly and without too much juddering. Gear shifts tighten up in sport mode. The engine is punchy enough, and reasonably torquey thanks to the twin-scroll turbo.
The 218i Gran Coupe sits alongside the sportier and more expensive M235i Gran Coupe xDrive. The M235i has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine, all-wheel-drive and puts out 225kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
The 218i Gran Coupe tested came with the Comfort Package, Enhancement Package and M Sport design package. This Enhancement Park includes 19-inch M light alloy wheels and 10mm lower suspension. This firmer setup means the 2 series feels more connected to the road, despite more rigidity.
The 218i can get from 0-100km/h in 8.7 seconds. This isn’t that bad, but if you want more speed, then the BMW M235i Gran Coupe xDrive is the way to go which gets from 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds. But we are here to discuss the 218i.
The 218i has three drive modes: EcoPro, Comfort and Sport. In EcoPro and Comfort mode, the 218i can take its time to kick down gears and spool up the turbo. But Sport mode helps speed up the gear shifts, spools up quicker and is all round more responsive.
The front-wheel-drive drivetrain means that pushing the car will lead to inevitable understeer, but it grips well enough for spirited-ish drives. It does its job as an entry-level BMW and can pick up its game when pushed into sports mode. Of course, the front-wheel-drive layout is a setback, with rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive BMW’s paving the way in motoring performance.
Paddle shifters behind the wheel are definitely something that would help make downshifting easier. For now, the gear stick needs to be pushed to the left, and then up (for a downshift). Although this isn’t meant to be the quickest car, paddles are become common practice now and make downshifts for overtaking super easy.
Overall, the 218i Gran Coupe holds its ground quite well despite minor setbacks, which we can’t complain about given that it is the entry level model. At 1375kg, or almost 200kg less than the M235i xDrive, it’s power to weight ratio isn’t the worst, and it’s lightweight frame makes it easier to perform.
BMW claims fuel consumption to be 5.9L/100km on the combined cycle.
Our tests returned around 8-10L/100km in urban driving. This can be improved if you keep the auto start/stop feature activated. However, we found this feature to be a bit jerky. The car could definitely turn off/on in a more subtle way.
Motorway driving dropped the 218i fuel consumption figure down to 5L/100km, but reached as high as 13-14L/100km on a more spirited drive (as expected).
These figures are as you would expect with such a small, lightweight car and can get a solid amount of kilometres before requiring a fill up.
The 218i Gran Coupe can take 91RON fuel if necessary, but BMW recommends at least 95RON premium unleaded.
Interior & Technology
The cabin of the 218i Gran Coupe is a wonderful place to be. Entering the cabin, you are greeted with sporty seats that are also comfortably cozy. The additional Comfort Package allows for these seats to be heated, and adjusted electronically (more on the packages below).
The plastics around the interior don’t seem cheap and the finishes are sharp. The blue stitching is a nice touch that helps shout out “M Sport”, along with awesome ambient lighting that illuminates the interior (with six colour options).
Boot storage is 430 litres, which is more than the 1 Series, but less than the 3 Series. Although, the boot of the 218i Gran Coupe has a neat little feature where the depth of the boot can be extended, adding an extra 20 odd cm’s of space to allow for a pram, luggage, sports gear and so on.
The infotainment system is a 10.25-inch touchscreen that can also be controlled with a physical button next to the gear shifter – this is a nice tough to keep driving safe. The infotainment system is responsive and has a heap of features thanks to the BMW Live Cockpit Professional. There is the BMW Assistance in the 218i along with plenty of other options to change the ambient lighting, vehicle modes and so on.
Apple CarPlay is now standard in BMW’s, without the need to pay a subscription fee, and Android Auto to join shortly. The great thing with this system is that Apple CarPlay can work through Bluetooth, unlike many other cars that require Apple CarPlay to work with a physical USB connection. This is great news as the 218i Gran Coupe also has wireless charging – drivers can simply put their phone on the wireless charging pad, CarPlay will connect via Bluetooth and you’re good to go!
Beneath the wireless charging dock is a USB port for charing and for audio function. There is also a USB-C port inside the storage compartment, which has enough space for a phone and wallet. There are also two more USB-C ports in the back seat for passengers – which is great with USB-C becoming the new industry standard. The back row could do with air vents though.
The virtual cockpit adds another 10.25-inch display for the dashboard. It has two large dials for the speed and rev counter, a small digital speedometer and the map displayed in the middle of the screen. More customisability would be ideal for the dashboard display as it is such a large screen but does not allow that many options to be displayed. There is also a heads up display which shows a digital speedometer, rev counter, and audio options.
The interior of the 218i is a lovely space to be, with plenty of comfort features and neat finishing touches. The 6-speaker 100-watt system could definitely do with more grunt as it lacks the bass and thumping power of say, a 16-speaker Harman Kardon system that the M235i has – but as an entry level model we can’t complain. The headspace is fairly limited at the back given the coupe shape, and giants over six foot might struggle if they extend their necks. But apart from this, the interior is finished well, especially for a car below the $50K price point.
BMW offers ‘Driving Assistant’ which comes with the lane departure warnings, rear traffic alert, speed limit information (which pops up on the heads up display while driving) and an auto parking assistant.
Auto emergency braking does not come as standard and will require the $650 upgrade to obtain adaptive cruise control. This allows the car to speed up and slow down in cruise control, and come to a complete stop. Without this upgrade, the 218i Gran Coupe still has the City Brake system which slows the car down at lower speeds – but again, it won’t completely stop.
Airbags are available for the driver and front passenger, as well as side curtain airbags for both rows. There are also three top tether points and two ISOFIX points for kids seats.
The 2 Series Gran Coupe is yet to be tested by ANCAP or EURO NCAP for safety yet.
Ride & Comfort
The 218i Gran Coupe sits on the M light 19-inch alloy wheels. These are an option with the Enhancement Pack and add a firmer ride, along with 10mm lowered suspension. These upgrades make the road feel more noticeable, but also make things much tighter.
This is personal preference – I prefer the firm, sharp ride, but others prefer a more comfortable, less bumpy ride. If that’s the case, then then 18’s are for you along with the softer suspension.
Either way, the ride is comfortable enough to be your daily driver with plenty of features inside to make the ride worthwhile. The rear passengers could be a little more comfortable with more headroom, but it’s a small coupe what can we expect.
The connection to the road is great, but understeer becomes more noticeable when the road gets windy and the car is pushed. This isn’t a race car, nor is it intended to be, although it still offers plenty of fun for its price point compared to the likes of the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA Class and A Class.
If a more spirited car is what you’re after, then the M235i Gran Coupe is the way to go if the extra $22k is within your budget. But the 218i Gran Coupe is a very affordable way to own an Ultimate Driving Machine.
Warranty & Servicing
BMW’s offers a low three year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which includes a 12 year rust warranty and three years of roadside assistance included.
The 2 Series comes with 5 years of capped price servicing, or 80,000km (whichever comes first). Without he average cost of each service over the 5 years amounting to around $293.
The starting price for the base model 218i Gran Coupe is $47,990 before on-roads.
The model tested includes the Enhancement Package and the Comfort Package.
The Enhancement Package comes in at $2900 and includes: panoramic sunroof, metallic paint and 19-inch M light alloy wheels.
The Comfort Package comes in at $2300 and includes: keyless entry, electronically adjustable front seats, heated front seats and lumbar support.
The new BMW 2 Series 218i Gran Coupe did not fail to impress. The M Sport touches made the 218i more aggressive and sporty, nice additions that we loved. The 218i is filled with a heap of technology and comfortable interior finishes. It has a decent amount of space for a coupe, and enough storage for its size.
The engine is torquey and zippy, despite being low on cylinder and the transmission does a great job at keeping things smooth. We would argue for more power, but that’s just the M235i Gran Coupe. The ride is polished and the 218i keeps everything together well.
The additional packs can drive up the price, but without the packs, it is still an incredibly affordable way to join the BMW family and not breaking the bank in the process.
ALL our videos of the BMW 218i Gran Coupe M Sport:
Exhaust Sound Comparison:
Full Walkthrough review:
All Settings Head Unit & Dashboard:
POV Test Drive: