2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer Review: Block Tours

Lionel Kong
2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

The MPV body style is alive and well in Singapore with BMW’s 216i Active Tourer

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer M Sport

Launched January 2023 – Price S$225,888 with COE (July 2023)
Five-door small MPV, five seats
123hp 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine, VES B, 6.8L/100km

High level of infotainment and safety tech
Nice to drive despite lower power output
Very good refinement

No hybrid drivetrain
No seven-seat model


There’s something oxymoronic about the BMW 216i Active Tourer. In theory it’s a car that should be pedestrian, mundane, and not at all exciting, but from behind the wheel, after just 30 minutes of driving around, you forget that this is ‘just’ an MPV. 

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

As we spelt out in the complete, detailed review of the 218i Active Tourer at the time of its launch in Singapore in mid 2022, this is the second-generation version of BMW’s only MPV-shaped car. In 216i form seen here, the three-cylinder turbocharged engine turned down to 123 horsepower, putting the car into the Category A COE segment.

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

Much of what you get is visually identical to the more expensive 218i Active Tourer that was sold here last year, except for the fact that the engine has 13 less horses and as a consequence the car is slightly slower. 

Then there are visible signs that BMW has done its best to deliver an acceptable sense of luxury to the package within perceived buyers’ budget constraints in Singapore. The seats, for example, may look like leather but on closer inspection are covered in BMW’s Sensatec synthetic leather. In other words, PVC. 

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

Then what looks like sets of additional speaker grilles on the upper sections of the doors are simple blanking plates shaped to give that impression. The 216i Active Tourer, like so many of BMW’s entry-level cars, have no tweeters, also known as high frequency speaker drivers, in their audio systems. The result is audio that may seem lacking in sparkle and clarity. Raising the treble tone control isn’t going to help much because the included speakers, on their own, simply cannot reproduce the high frequencies.

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

Yet the car also doesn’t skimp on the user interface. The infotainment system gets the full voice-operated Intelligent Personal Assistant, still one of the best interfaces you can find in a new car. GPS navigation is also part of the package, as is a wireless phone charging dock.

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

Externally the car has some clever bits too, like the front cooling intakes that close off for better aerodynamic efficiency at highway speeds and when the engine doesn’t need extra cooling.

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

Plus, this is the M Sport version of the car which means besides the entirely cosmetic wheel upgrade, it also packs the chunky M Sport steering wheel and full sports seats for the front occupants. Yes they are covered in PVC but the support that they provide is what makes this car so fun to drive.

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

It’s not fast in a straight line, but if you come to peace with that limitation you’ll discover that the car is an extremely capable handler. It’s front wheel driven, and with a suspension setting that is very progressive in how it soaks up bumps and manages the car’s weight transfer as it leans through the corners. 

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

The BMW Group’s 500cc-per-cylinder, three and four cylinder engines are its most versatile designs and the same engine block from the 216i can be found in more powerful form powering the Mini Cooper.

In summary, the car carves corners very confidently and when driven in a sporty manner it maintains its corner speed a lot better than many other supposedly sportier cars. The other fellow may outrun you in a straight line, but come to a series of corners and the 216i Active Tourer carves it up like a serious sports car, which is part of what makes the car feel slightly confusing because you don’t expect an MPV to hang on to the corners like a Volkswagen Golf GTI

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

It’s a lot more spacious than a large hatchback like a Skoda Scala, but doesn’t have the frumpy lines of something that’s entirely functional like a Toyota Sienta. It may seat only five people and not seven but the second row is on rails and you can move it back for an enormous amount of legroom, or forwards for more boot space.

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

Somewhat disappointingly however is that despite the power drop over the 218i, the fuel economy of the car is officially only 0.1L/100km better. In actual use however, we recorded an average of 7.4L/100km over four days, versus the official claim of 6.8L/100km.  

2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer in Singapore

In this category, the only other serious competitor to the 216i Active Tourer is still the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, but we’d argue that the 2 Series Active Tourer looks more muscular and has a classier user interface.

Yet there’s also no denying that SUVs have taken over the space once favoured by MPVs, and as a five-seat MPV the 216i Active Tourer has to compete internally with the BMW X1, which may be smaller, but currently trendier. 

The BMW 216i Active Tourer is a fun-to-drive, fuel-efficient, highly techy, luxury small MPV. If that’s what you want, it delivers.  

BMW 216i Active Tourer M Sport 

Drivetrain type Petrol engine 
Engine1,499cc, inline 3, turbocharged 
Power123hp at 4400-6500rpm
Torque230Nm at 1500-4000rpm
Gearbox7-speed dual-clutch
0-100km/h10.3 seconds 
Top Speed206km/h
Fuel Efficiency6.8L/100km
VES Band B / Neutral 
AgentPerformance Motors Limited / Eurokars Auto
PriceS$225,888 with COE and VES
Verdict Still feels posh despite some cuts in budget, but lack of a seven-seat option a drawback too


216i Active tourer bmw MPV

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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