Touring Actively

Posted: February 28, 2016 in All

With the 218i, BMW have made a brave move producing a front wheel drive, a huge risk as BMW purists have felt that the rear wheel drive platform is tried and true. True petrol heads will want that feeling of cornering control that only rear wheel drive can give. Not to mention the chance to get the tail out (on a racetrack of course!).


For normal day to day driving to the shops, church, housie or the bowling club, front wheel drive is more than sufficient and the difference for them would be virtually unnoticeable. I for one absolutely loathe understeer that front wheel powered cars tend to give, especially when pushed a little too hard through a corner. During the test of the 218i I pushed its nippy little 1499cc 3 cylinder petrol engine as hard as I could around some tight corners in the wet and only once was there ever the slightest hint of understeer. And it wasn’t to a point where I felt like the car was going to wind up nose first in a ditch. In fact the grip from the front 17 inch tyres was so sure and had such a safe feel about it, that you had the confidence to power through the corner, all thanks to the electronic aids this car has such as Brake Assistance, Cornering Brake Control (CBC) and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC).


It would seem even the most incompetent driver could avoid many an accident in the well-appointed 218i. And if one was to have an accident they would be well protected with the many safety appointments giving it a 5 star NCAP rating.

Electronic gadgetry is everywhere with:

  • USB and Bluetooth connections
  • rear view camera
  • LED cornering headlamps
  • Concierge Service

It also has the ‘My BMW Remote’, a cell phone app for Android and Apple devices which allows you to locate the vehicle, remotely lock and unlock and flash the headlights.


Then there is the Parking Assist Package which is becoming commonplace in a lot of new vehicles these days. It is generally a great system which finds a parking spot big enough for the car to fit in, and once activated, steers the car into the space with just the driver operating the accelerator and brake. Usually this system can parallel park the vehicle far better than any human can do. Usually. I had quite a few goes at using this system in the 218i and out of the 20 or so attempts only once did the system park the car perfectly. All other times it drove over the curb, hit a small tree or curbed a wheel or two. Very glad I was testing this function on a closed road with no other vehicles around otherwise some insurance details may have needed to be exchanged. See the video below, apologies for the video quality as this was filmed on my phone on a windy day.

All in all the BMW 218i is a great little car and perfect for those slightly aged ones with easy entry and egress into the driver’s seat due to good height and space. The more frugal will appreciate the Eco Pro mode which optimises fuel consumption and displays fuel savings on the instrument panel. The car starts in normal mode which is perfect for day to day driving, eco mode great for the daily commute in heavy traffic but if you are on a nice back road there is always fun to be had with the Sport mode, my personal favourite choice, and I’m fairly sure I’d drive in this mode 99.9% of the time.


The BMW 218i Active Tourer has a retail price of $51,900. The diesel (218d, with 2 litre engine) version at $62,900. The 220i Coupé, 2 litre petrol, at $69,800. Feeling a bit racy? There is always the M235i at $105,100 with a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine.

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