SPECS AND VERDICT Model
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
Transmission The doors are so tall you need to open them with care…
The cabin is light-filled and roomy Tourer Engine