44 MOTORING | bmw
Your next wish has arrived Ross Kiddie Motorist Editor
ROSS KIDDIE explores the performance, luxury and style, which has long been associated with BMW.
Performance, luxury and style are major reasons why buyers choose BMW. And as time has served to prove, more and more BMW models are incorporating those ingredients. Take the latest to come my way, the 220i Coupe; it oozes style with its low, sleek shape, it has performance to envy with its 135kW engine and has a high level of specification worthy of a luxury tag. The 220i Coupe is essentially based on the 1-Series platform, the nomenclature distancing itself a little from the hatch and sedan shapes of its stablemate. The 220i’s design is curvy yet aggressive. It has a shape which lures comment and desire, yet it also has practicality, which doesn’t always present itself with coupe designs. The latter is particularly noticeable; the 220i offers easy entry and egress up front, the
doors aren’t overly wide so they aren’t a nuisance in close confines, while there’s also the benefit of reasonable leg room for those who are confined to the two rear seats. The 220i is only available here in two variants at present. The test car was listing at $71,700 in base form and there is a six-cylinder M235i model at $104,800, but for my money the entry-level four-cylinder is the pick. It is dynamic, comfortable and a heck of a lot of fun. It is also loaded with the packages that BMW has developed so that safety and fuel efficiency isn’t compromised. One is labelled EfficientDynamics and it is simply an energy regeneration system under deceleration, and along with an economy driving mode, prompts are made so that the driver is aware that fuel usage saving targets can be easily met. According to BMW, the 220i
can achieve a combined cycle rating of seven-litres per 100km (40mpg). My time with the test car resulted in a 9l/100km (31mpg) average which wasn’t that far distant along with a 5.2l/100km (51mpg) highway cruise figure with the engine turning over very relaxed at just 1750rpm at 100km/h. While fuel economy is one thing, BMW engines are generally built with performance as the main manufacturing ingredient. Under the bonnet sits a longitudinally-mounted, fourpotter which is also rated with 270Nm of torque. The turbocharged, double camshaft engine is coupled to a fabulous eight-speed automatic gearbox. The combination of both is alluring with strong engine performance and shift quality which make ratios changes almost undetectable. The 220i is fast for a two-litre
car. It will scorch to 100km/h from a standstill in 7 seconds and will lunge through an 80km/h to 120km/h overtaking manoeuvre in 4sec thanks to a strong turbo surge and high mid-range torque output. The engine also stands out for its revvy nature and solid performance through the rev band and, of course, there’s always a gear on hand. There’s never a feeling that the transmission is not in a suitable ratio. That’s the benefit of eight-speeders - the gaps between ratios are close, prompting a lively engine feel. Of course, the 220i doesn’t need to be driven aggressively, but when it is it feels strong, akin to the performance aspect of BMW. At city speeds it is docile and feeds power gently so that stopstart traffic is relaxing. The 220i characteristically drives through the rear axles and, in the first instance, that provides