SPECS AND VER­DICT Model

Friday - - Motoring - 2.0-litre four-cylin­der turbo Eight-speed auto, FWD 231bhp @ 5,000rpm 350Nm @ 1,250rpm 240kph 6.6 sec­onds Dh220,000 (as tested) Pre­mium cabin, smooth ride, peppy mo­tor Aside from the ob­vi­ous (FWD...) it’ll set you back a lot of dosh

grows to an im­pres­sive 1,510 when you flick a pair of switches to drop the sec­ond row flat, while a fold­able floor con­ceals yet an­other stor­age com­part­ment. Ac­cess to the back has been made easy too with a wideopen­ing power tail­gate.

On the tech front, you get plenty as stan­dard; the oblig­a­tory iDrive con­trol, a 6.5in dis­play, a leather sports steer­ing wheel and safety sys­tems in­clud­ing col­li­sion warn­ing with city brak­ing func­tion and a rain sen­sor with au­to­matic head­light ac­ti­va­tion. Our 225i had more good­ies in the shape of a re­vers­ing cam­era that re­layed a crys­tal-clear im­age and a colour head-up dis­play.

So, it has space, com­fort and some im­pres­sive kit. There’s got to be a catch, surely? There is: torque steer. The very men­tion of the phe­nom­ena in a BMW is un­prece­dented. Un­der heavy throt­tle, it veers to the left or right, play­ing havoc with the oth­er­wise nicely weighted (electro­mechan­i­cal – BMW does them well) steer­ing, with pad­dle shifters.

Once it sub­sides and you’ve wres­tled the car back into your lane, it of­fers a very smooth and com­fort­able ride.

With its brawny torque and lively revving char­ac­ter­is­tics, the barely au­di­ble new four-cylin­der petrol en­gine is pretty tasty. The top-ofthe-range tur­bocharged 2.0-litre mo­tor packs 231bhp from 5,000rpm and 350Nm of torque be­tween 1,250-4,500rpm.

Mated to an eight-speed auto (less would be more in man­ual mode), it can do the 0-100kph sprint in a brisk 6.6 sec­onds and has a top speed of 240kph. And there are three driv­ing modes to se­lect from – Sport, Com­fort and Eco­Pro.

It isn’t as bad as the purists want it to be and han­dles a bit like a tall Mini (the high cen­tre of grav­ity doesn’t help) and is ob­vi­ously aimed at those who don’t re­ally care if an ‘M’ car should be a man­ual or au­to­matic, or are in­ter­ested in the mer­its of rear-wheel drive. Peo­ple who buy this are go­ing to do so be­cause they want a car with the blue and white roundel parked in their drive.

It doesn’t feel like a proper BMW and this one isn’t the ul­ti­mate driv­ing ma­chine. We never thought the day would come, but it has.

Things are chang­ing — are you go­ing to em­brace it?

It has space, com­fort and some im­pres­sive kit. There’s got to be a catch. And there is: torque steer

225i Ac­tive

Trans­mis­sion The doors are so tall you need to open them with care…

The cabin is light-filled and roomy Tourer En­gine

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