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BMW 216i M Sport Active Tourer Review: More of the Good Stuff

BMW's small cars built on the UKL2 platform are pretty much best-in-class right now.
James Wong
James Wong
15 May 2023
... the 216i AT is probably one of the best Cat A cars one can buy at the moment.

What we like:
Excellent build quality
Peppy engine and gearbox
Sorted chassis
What we dislike:
Fuel consumption is a bit on the high side

When we reviewed the 218i M Sport Active Tourer last year, we were impressed with its drive and build quality. It’s very much the same in the 216i M Sport Active Tourer (216i AT), whose output has been right-sized to slot neatly into Cat A (the Cat B 218i AT is no longer for sale). There is 14 hp less, but the all-important torque figure stays the same at 230 Nm. Seems like quite a clever deal, if you ask us.

In fact, very much like the BMW X1 which is built on the same platform, the 216i AT is probably one of the best Cat A cars one can buy at the moment. You get refinement that’s what you’d expect from something several classes higher. The drivetrain is punchy, responsive and perfect for the city. Build quality is beyond reproach. And even though some (including myself) may not like the button-scarce interface, it’s without a doubt right up the alley of the AI generation.

You do lose some features with the 216i AT versus the 218i AT, like the massage seats which were a genuine delight-and-surprise feature for its segment. There is also no panoramic sunroof. But otherwise, the 216i AT is decently specified. You wouldn’t feel there’s much amiss at all, with a leather-wrapped M steering wheel, electric front seats (with memory for the driver’s) and the widescreen curved display.

There’s so much to like with the 216i AT. Which is quite a shocker coming from me, because I rather loathed the last generation 2 Series AT/GT for selling out the BMW brand for presumably enlarging sales numbers. I guess it was really painful during the transition. But times have changed and so has BMW. The 2 Series AT has matured to something actually immensely appealing and desirable, and I can see the car hitting a homerun if not for the current COE climate. I can even live with the supersized front grilles.

I’m now very curious how a 2 Series GT would be like if BMW made one today - arguably, the GT was the more successful of the AT/GT pair among Singaporean families. Well, it is just a dream for now. Till then, you will do no wrong with the 216i AT, if you don’t need the three rows.

Photos by Darren Leong


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216i Active Tourer
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