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Friday, February 17, 2023

BMW 216i Gran Tourer - The perfect family car?

One of our biggest purchase last year was a car. 

It was finally a dream come through as I sat in my new purchase. Obviously this purchase didn't came easy, so we had a heck load of research work done. Considering our family of five, including our helper, and occasionally going on family trips with the grandparents, we knew we had to get a 7-seater (although I still wished for a coupe or my favourite ah beng Lancer). However, a full-size MPV would be a hassle to drive and park, and would probably use considerably more petrol, and a SUV is probably too small for our needs.

After weeks of filtering, we narrowed down our choices to 3 models, and most importantly, according to our budget of 100k for a second-hand car.

Before landing our hands on this 216i, here's our shortlisted cars (which could be used for your reference if you're considering a family car too):

#1. Mitsubishi Outlander 2018

When it comes to getting a 7-seater, the Outlander was my initial choice. The front looks mascular and seems like it could hold itself in the event of an accident. I did a test drive but found the ride to be extremely bumpy, as if I could almost feel every unevenness of the road. Despite looking bulky from the outside, the interior was quite cramp. To be fair, the Outlander seems to have the most powerful engine amongst our shortlisted cars. Features are basic and slightly limited, but the main con to me was the super tight third row. Imagine the leg space of budget airlines and halved that. Yep.

#2. Volkswagen Touran

To be honest, we were torn between the Touran and the 216i. Touran has a spacious interior, it's huge and have an incredible panoramic sun-roof. I bet the kids would love looking at the skies and non-existent stars of Singapore through the glass which stretch from front to near-back of the car. In fact, I test drove the Touran twice, and found the experience to be superb. Yet being a second-hand car and typical of a Volkswagen car, the major problem is the gearbox, and to replace that probably cost a lot. And for me, I didn't quite want to take that risk.

#3. BMW 216i Gran Tourer (GT)

After test-driving the Touran, my wife Lydia spotted the 216i in another showroom and immediately fell in love with it. Just like she did with me. We asked for a test drive near our place as we were rushing off, and the car dealer was agreeable, so that's a huge plus. In fact, I test drove both the 216i and 218i beforehand. As the latter just came out recently, it was off our budget at approximately $180k for 9 years. However, the difference between the two models are minimal.


- One thing you would notice straightaway is the quality, from the leather seats to the dashboard. Everything screams luxury in its interior.

- Comfortable third row leg space, and if the third row is stowed away, the bootspace is 560l. Second row can be stowed away too, increasing the bootspace to a whopping 1820l. Talking about shifting IKEA flatpacks home.

- Smart features such as electronic front seats, error prompting, rain wiper sensors, light settings, and automatic boot opening (with a swipe of your leg - particularly useful if your hands are full).

- Decent fuel consumption at approximately 11-13l/100km.

- It's a BMW after all.


- Engine isn't that powerful as it does seem like a drag especially if it's fully loaded with 7 pax. But again, this car is a family car and not a sports car.

- Headunit looks terribly small. We had to top-up extra to upgrade to a bigger HUD.

- Engine noise slightly loud, and sounded like a pickup truck especially when the engine is just turned on.

- Design looks a bit noobish from the front (too steep for my liking)


At the time of writing, I've been driving the 216i GT for close to 5 months. As a new car owner, it takes some time to figure out the functions and temperament of the car. However, after getting use to it, the 216i GT is fun and comfortable car to drive. It's no sports car, but it's more than enough for Singapore's roads. Psst.. I even got two warnings for over-speeding within a month (above 100km/h), so you know that that the motor can deliver if needed.

In conclusion, a perfect family car to fetch the children to school before heading to work, and not to forget the weekend trips.