Over the long Easter weekend, we joined a road trip organized by Performance Motors Limited to Kuala Lumpur. PML provided families with their new and first seven seater, the BMW 216d Gran Tourer to drive (unless you owned your own 2series), and led the convoys up. We love driving but we have been a little too chicken to go to Malaysia by our little selves, so we quickly signed up. Before you read on, do note that we signed up and paid for everything on our own, nothing was sponsored, and this post is not sponsored either.
The BMW 216d Gran Tourer admittedly isn’t the hottest girl on the block. I’ve seen a few on the road and always wondered who would spend the money to buy these cars which look like…. they have a little bit of an identity crisis?
But she would soon prove me wrong. Once we got settled into the car and started going, boy! She is like the girl who hasn’t got model looks, but looks decent enough, and has got so much character she is the life of the party that everyone wants to be friends with. She is Miss Congeniality!
Here’s a little something about me – I love to drive and I think it is one of life’s simple pleasures, especially when there are no kids around because we all know how that can get pretty stressful sometimes. Ok even with kids, I love driving. Since our eldest was born, I have been often been driving the kids around myself, even as screaming babies. I can even make a bottle of formula milk at traffic lights (although it just involves pouring a pre-measured amount of water into a bottle with formula powder ready)! I have loved our last two cars, and we speak so affectionately about them, we even personify them 😀
As a family with 3 children, we were on the look out for an MPV for quite a while, but we could not settle on any because we just couldn’t find any one that felt the least bit inspiring. I almost fell asleep testing the Citroen Picasso (no offense to anyone driving the Picasso), and when we tried the Honda Odyssey (which is actually in a more luxury category than this baby), I literally asked “Why is it so slow?”. I was not trying to be rude, but I thought I was in the wrong gear or something. Before you think me a car snob, I could have been easily satisfied with any car as opposed to no car, but in the end we stuck to a saloon even though it doesn’t have the 7 seats we could use in an MPV.
I’m not good with technical engineering details, and you can find out the complete list of features online or in the showroom (be warned, there are plenty of features!), but what I will tell you how much we loved her. For the one week that we had her, the 216d was my mummy van, my inspiration and my partner. Whenever I was with her, she put a smile on my face. One day, as I was approaching her in the multi-storey car park, I had a moment of panic when I couldn’t find her! Did someone steal her overnight?! Was I on the right floor?! Eventually I found her hiding behind a (much) larger 5-series. Gosh, how she even teased me!
I loved that it could fit three kids abreast in their respective car seats in the middle row, and they loved sitting together in their good moments (i.e. not fighting lah). Or taking turns to sit in the front. Or in the third row.
I loved the auto tailgate – which means the boot can open and close at the touch of a button (the Odyssey does not even offer this as an option, hello?!) and you can even open it with a swipe of your foot below the tailgate. I loved zipping around – she is light but fast, and almost the same size as a 3 series, which makes it a good size for city driving. She is also fuel efficient – we made it all the way to Kuala Lumpur and back on one tank and still had enough diesel to run around the city for another few days. I also loved how she had so many of the new bells and whistles that BMW technology offers. Park assist, lane departure warning, seats that fold automatically, heads up display… There is even an SOS button which you can press to call in case of emergencies, or in the case of a crash it could even activate itself (and the same SIM card also receives traffic information for your GPS).
And just how intuitive is it? This:
Most of all, of course, I loved the drive. Apparently the Diesel and twin turbo engines give the car a lot of torque. Is that last sentence even grammatically correct? What I do know, is that the drive was simply amazing beyond my capacity to describe. Having driven a few models over the years from the 3 and 5 series ranges, I can say with certainty that I like the drive of the 216d so much better than the entry 3 and 5 models, partly due to heavier chassis on the latter cars and less torquey engines.
What I didn’t like? I did find that due to her very unassuming looks, when I was on the roads I felt like I was getting bullied all the time. That no one wanted to give way to me despite my considerate driving and religious use of my indicators. I think this car might need to be in bright blue. Or red, to be more noticed. But! No matter, I let the other drivers judge and be ungracious all they want, because once I was in the clear and had the chance floor it, the other cars were left way behind eating my dust. Ah, retribution and a fast car sure are sweet.
The 216d is a true driver’s MPV. Our last few cars have been the “sporty” type, and even then I loved this. Even drivers who drive everything from M-series cars to X5s were also suitably impressed by the 216d for a car in this category. Buy this if you love to drive and want a practical, reliable, feature-packed, fuel efficient fun MPV. In my mind this has got to be the top of the range MPV in its category.
My husband declared that he would miss the car when we had to return it. As for me, I already know what colour I would like! However, we already have one car and we walk to school and work, so we don’t need another. But if we did, it’s clear what my choice would be. Oh my darling 216d, where were you when we needed a MPV?
Disclaimer: Actually this post doesn’t even need a disclaimer because nothing was sponsored. We paid for the weekend trip ourselves and received nothing in compensation for this post!