December 03, 2021 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2021 BMW 218i GranCoupé Sport

The Optimized Premium Entry

We recently tested the all-new BMW 2-Series GranCoupé (F44) Sport subcompact executive sedan in the Philippines and we were very pleased with how good it was as a premium entry-level sporty saloon that is thankfully consistent with the brand’s character of dynamic performance. Compared to its closest direct brotherly competition, which it shares much with from the engine, chassis, drivetrain, and more, the 4-door MINI Cooper Hardtop hatchback at P2,750,000.00 is about 250 pounds lighter and zippier from naught to 100 km/h by about .4 seconds. Both are very compelling but for different reasons. The more upright entry-level MINI Cooper 4-door hatch certainly has more spunk and flair in a smaller package. The larger BMW 218i GranCoupé Sport on the other hand is more polished and more appropriately mature. It is more aerodynamic than the MINI Cooper 4-door hardtop so it is actually more fuel-efficient and has a higher top speed.

The MINI Cooper models that do match with the BMW GranCoupé Sport in terms of the longer chassis are the Clubman and Countryman but the basic 1.5-liter turbocharged engines are not currently offered in our Philippine market so you will have to pay at least P3,600,000.00 for a Clubman Cooper S model that features the brilliant 189 bhp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. Both the Clubman and Countryman models are taller but shorter than the BMW by almost 9-inches.

Like the MINI Cooper, the BMW 218i GranCoupé Sport is front-wheel driven, uses essentially the same transverse inline-3 cylinder turbocharged engine mated to a dual-clutch 7-speed transmission, recalibrated but similar suspension, and it also uses a UKL platform but the larger and longer UKL2 version. The brakes are 11.0-inch vented disc up front with 10.2-inch vented discs at the rear with single-piston brake calipers on all corners. The 17 x 7.5” alloys are wrapped with compliant Hankook Ventus S1 evo3 XL 225/45R17 94Y RSC tires.

So, for the extra P200,000.00 over the MINI Cooper 4-door hatch, you get 57-liters more trunk space, a 102 mm longer wheelbase, 536 mm longer body, about the same width, and 7.6 mm taller ground clearance with a 5 mm lower roofline. This all translates to a very comfortable premium small sedan that is more affordable than a Mercedes-Benz CLA180 with more driver engagement and enjoyment. The BMW 218i GranCoupé Sport literally sits in between the two award-winning Mercedes-Benz entry models, the A180 sedan and CLA180 sedan, in terms of pricing, packaging, and driving experience.

If this is your first time to buy a BMW entry-level sedan, you are in for a real treat. It looks like a baby 8-series with a MINI heart. The BMW is straightforward and satisfying to drive with a strong sense of family familiarity. Unlike with the Mercedes-Benz A180 and CLA180 sedans, the BMW does not have fake rear exhaust trim, it has essential rear climate control vents, and a stronger overall sense of build quality and dynamic performance.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-3
Displacement 1499 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 12V
Fuel Injector Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo, Double-VANOS
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 138 bhp @ 4500-6500 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 162 lb-ft @ 1500-4100 rpm
Transmission 7-Speed DCT

Performance

Top Speed 216 km/h (135 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 8.7 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 5.1 L/100 km Overall

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 2,990,000.00
What's Great The best entry-level BMW in our market in a long time. Better and more spacious than a MINI Cooper 4-door Hardtop, zippy and fun. Excellent build-quality, nice ride and handling, and well-appointed.
What's Not So Price. The 228i GranCoupé Sport is the much better driver’s car but is not available in our market.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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