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2022 BMW 216i Gran Coupe Review: Small Wonders

Lionel Kong
08/06/2022
BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore


Singapore gets a new Cat A COE-eligible BMW 2 Series, but does the smaller engine blunt its dynamics?


2022 BMW 216i Gran Coupe

Launched: May 2022 – Price S$203,888 with COE & VES (June 2022) 

Four-door, sedan, five seats

109hp, 1.5-litre turbo, petrol engine, VES A2, 5.5L/100km


PROS
Efficient petrol engine
Dynamic driving ability is retained
Infotainment system is very user-friendly

CONS
Small cabin
Jumpy engine start-stop system


SINGAPORE

BMW’s quest to place a car into every conceivable niche continues with its latest product, the 216i Gran Coupe. It’s essentially the same car as the 218i Gran Coupe that arrived in early 2020, but now with an even smaller engine.

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore

Why? The answer is all in the pricing. The 216i’s 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo engine, with just 109 horsepower, puts the car into the Category A COE bracket. More interestingly, the 216i’s CO2 emissions qualify it for the A2 band in the Vehicle Emissions Scheme, which grants it an immediate S$15,000 rebate, which translates into a big discount for the customer right off the showroom floor. 

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore engine

As it stands right now, the price difference between a 218i Gran Coupe and 216i Gran Coupe is a pretty big one, with S$30,000 separating the two and just a 27 horsepower difference between them. 

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore

To keep the 216i’s entry price as low as possible, it comes only in Sport trim, with the fancy M Sport edition nowhere in sight. This means the car has no fancy protruding bodykits hanging off the lower edge, and the interior is upholstered in a synthetic leather-like material that BMW calls Sensatec. It’s really fancy PVC, but the plus side is that it’s been proven to be extremely durable, and if you’re not a leather connoisseur it matters very little because it certainly feels close enough to leather.  

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore cabin

The three-cylinder petrol engine might be small, but it’s a versatile powerplant that can also be found in the BMW 116i hatchback, as well as the Mini One. Interestingly, the 218i Gran Coupe uses the same three-cylinder engine block, which leads us to conclude that the 216i is really just a detuned 218i released specifically for Singapore.

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore

The end result is quite interesting. It’s not a fast car in a straight line, but if you’re coming into it from a Kia Cerato, Hyundai Avante, or even a Mazda 3 you’ll probably be very satisfied with the driving experience and overall turn of pace. However the Skoda Octavia will blow the 216i Gran Coupe away in a drag race.

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore wheel

It does feel very much like a detuned 218i, because the chassis is as capable as any other BMW. The 2 Series cars are all front-wheel drive and the 216i’s dynamic balance is different from that of a rear-wheel drive 318i, but it still has ability in spades. Going in and out of corners quickly is a matter of maintaining momentum, because the car is capable of tracking the line you trace with the wheel with great accuracy but the engine has to wheeze hard to match the chassis’ ability. The less speed you scrub off in a corner, the less the engine has to work to get back up to speed again. 


220km/h in a M850i!

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore back seat

Yet the fact remains that the 2 Series Gran Coupe is a small car. Thanks to its swoopy ‘coupe’ styling, the rear seats are really only good for two people, and headroom is tight. A 1 Series hatchback is arguably more spacious, and would suit a small family better.

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore boot

At least the rear seats fold forwards to extend the boot space, and there are finishing touches throughout the car that show BMW didn’t cut costs where it mattered. The car gets the full BMW Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system as standard. This means access to offerings provided by the current BMW Operating System 7 via a display grouping with two large 10.25-inch screens.

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore screen

A very cool detail is that the front of the car features a sort of active aero for improving efficiency. There are doors behind the front air intakes that slide shut when the engine is operating at optimal temperatures, allowing for smoother airflow over the car. They slide open again when more airflow is needed to the radiators.  

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore grille

The end result is a supposed improvement in overall fuel efficiency. BMW promised 5.5l/100km, though in real-world use with a light right foot 6.8l/100km is a more achievable target. The trouble is, if you’re accustomed to driving a more powerful car you’ll be stabbing for the lower depths of the accelerator a lot more with the 216i, and can really add up to poor fuel economy numbers. 


Check out the full video review of the 218i Gran Coupe

BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore

Still, unless you really want a decently powerful 2 Series Gran Coupe, the 216i could be all the small BMW you will need. It’s a big price saving over the 218i and BMW knows that ultimately in the entry-level luxury segment, a good price tag is what sells cars. This is one of the very few small luxury cars that sits in the Category A COE bracket, and that does help with its competitive price. A Mercedes-Benz A 180 or CLA 180 may prove to be its strongest alternative, along with the possibility of an Audi A3 should one ever be released with a smaller engine. Still, while the Mercedes-Benz cars trade on their razzle-dazzle tech and very nice (read: distracting) graphical displays, the BMW is a better car to drive dynamically overall.


BMW 216i Gran Coupe Singapore badge

BMW 216i Gran Coupe

Drivetrain type Petrol engine
Engine 1,499cc, inline 4, turbocharged
Power109hp at 4300 – 6500rpm
Torque190Nm at 1380 – 3800rpm 
Gearbox7-speed dual clutch
0-100km/h10.8 seconds
Top Speed200km/h
Fuel Efficiency5.5 L/100km 
VES Band A2 / -S$15,000
AgentPerformance Motors
PriceS$203,888 with COE and VES
Availability Now
Verdict A good entry-level BMW if you value street style over practicality

Tags:

216i 218i bmw gran coupe

About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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