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2023 BMW 216i Active Tourer Singapore Review - M Sport

The BMW 216i Active Tourer is built on the same UKL2 platform that is used on the BMW 216i Gran Coupe, and also features the same 1.5 - litre three cylinder turbo engine applied through front wheel drive through a 7 speed dual clutch transmission. The 216i Active Tourer represents entry level luxury for consumers who are just getting started in the luxury segment and want a car that provides decent fuel economy numbers, while providing an above average driving experience.

Bigger & More Beautiful

Following the departure of the Gran Tourer from BMW's lineup, the product lines of the Active Tourer and the Gran Tourer have somewhat been merged into the Active Tourer that we see today. It is larger than its predecessor, but is a strict five seater, thus filling the gap between the previous Active Tourer and Gran Tourer. Fans of the previous Gran Tourer and its seven seater practicality will no doubt be disappointed, but it is important to note that the new Active Tourer is also noticeable larger in the cain, providing second row occupants with more legroom than ever before.

From the outside, the car has also grown, and has more presence than before, especially with the enlarged kidney grille that dominates the front fascia. With its flushed door handles and neat lines, the new Active Tourer looks more premium than before, and gives the impression of a more grown up car - one that has shed its comparatively juvenile beginnings for a more polished, upmarket look and feel.

Practical & User Friendly

Priced at the same price as a 2 series Gran Coupe, the Active Tourer is based off the same platform and shares the same drive train as the Gran Coupe. While the Active Tourer is arguably the less fashionable car between the two, it is also probably the more practical of the two.

With an elevated floor and boxier shape, the Active Tourer provides users with better headroom all around, and is also easier to load children into the rear, which is just as well, because the Active Tourer boasts excellent second row legroom for its class, which means that rearward facing child seats will fit in this car without difficulty - a rare quality of a car in this segment.

Elsewhere around the car, a special cutout in the centre console just below the rear air conditioning vents make it significantly easier to shuffle across the rear seats. It's not a significant feature, but definitely shows that BMW has thought about the little things in this car to make it as practical as can be. Well placed USB-C ports for the rear passengers are another feature that hits the nail on the head when it comes to catering to the needs of youths and teenagers in the rear seat - once again showing that BMW understands the target markets it caters to. Another useful feature that I love that is available throughout the BMW range, but perhaps is most applicable in a car like the Active Tourer, is the Smart Reverse Assistant, which allows the car to retrace its exact steps for up to 50m - a particularly useful tool when dealing with tight spaces and dead end roads.

Upgraded Driving Experience

Despite being pegged down to just 121 bhp to fit within CAT A COEs in Singapore, there has been significant improvement made to the 1.5 litre turbocharged 3 cylinder engine that is found in the Active Tourer and other entry level cars in the BMW stable such as the Gran Coupe, X1, and 1 Series Hatchback - all of which are mated to a 7 speed dual clutch transmission. In its current iteration, the power unit feels more powerful than the stated 121 bhp, and produces noticeably more torque at lower gears and speeds than its predecessor. As a result, the engine pulls more purposefully, and actually produces quite a lovely sound while doing so.

Up at higher speeds, the car feels composed and assured as a BMW should, and the 3 cylinder power unit feels more refined than most other 3 cylinders on the market. In fact, at cruising speeds, it almost feels like a 4 cylinder, providing enough torque and juice to pull purposefully up to speeds of 120km/h - more than what other 3 cylinders on the market would achieve.

Who will it Appeal to?

Due to its clean cut dimensions, elevated seating, and a healthy amount of driving technology, the 216i Active Tourer is perfect for those who want something that is easy to operate and use on a daily basis, yet still desire something a little more premium and upmarket than a mass market Japanese or Korean car. It would do well for young families with the need for rearward facing child seats, and would be a great second car to have in the stable for various family members to run their errands in style.


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