Driven

NEW ROLLS-ROYCE GHOST / A whis­per, not a shout

- Cars · Consumer Goods · BMW · Croatia · Audi · BMW Motorrad · BMW 2 Series

though rear oc­cu­pants would have to put up with com­pro­mised head­room due to the raked roofline. Lug­gage ca­pac­ity is good for 430-litres.

LAUNCH DRIVE

The route BMW planned out for us was punc­tu­ated by a mid-morn­ing re­fresh­ment stop at Sil­ver Orange Bistro restau­rant in Har­te­beespoort, then a beau­ti­ful lunch at Roots restau­rant at the fives­tar Fo­rum Ho­mini Ho­tel. I just can­not com­pli­ment BMW enough for such a well-planned day. Dur­ing these stops, the cars were all sani­tised and then swapped around to a dif­fer­ent group of jour­nal­ists so that by the end of the drive, we all had a chance to drive all three mod­els. My im­pres­sions are based on the or­der in which I drove the cars.

AP­PRE­CI­AT­ING THE BMW 220D

I started with the 2.0 litre diesel first. This unit is good for 140 kW and 400 Nm and is mated to an eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box with the power be­ing sent to the front wheels. From the mo­ment I set off, the high­light to me was just how re­fined this diesel unit is. The gear­box knows to keep you in the lower rev range so the diesel vo­cals are never in­tru­sive in the cabin. More spir­ited driv­ing saw me hit 100 km/h in the mid seven sec­ond mark which makes for swift traf­fic light sprints on the daily com­mute. And de­spite that spir­ited driv­ing, my av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion was about 5 l/100 km.

LOV­ING THE BMW M235I

This one here was eas­ily my favourite of the bunch for pretty ob­vi­ous rea­sons. It has the most pow­er­ful en­gine in the line-up, be­ing a 2.0 litre petrol unit pro­duc­ing 225 kW and 450 Nm, and is mated to an eight-speed au­to­matic box. This model has BMW’s xDrive sys­tem which can send power to all four wheels. In nor­mal driv­ing, the rear axle is dis­en­gaged so that the car runs as a front wheel drive un­til ex­tra trac­tion is re­quired and then the rear wheels step in.

The com­bi­na­tion of a BMW’s most pow­er­ful four-cylin­der en­gine and four wheel trac­tion saw 0-100 km/hr sprints be­ing han­dled in the mid four sec­ond range. Slight turbo lag is ev­i­dent in the com­fort set­tings but be­comes non-ex­is­tent when you have the car in its sporti­est set­tings. The sus­pen­sion was best left in its com­fort set­tings where it was the most plush since I found the sport set­tings a bit too firm for daily driv­ing. Quick, re­spon­sive and with the fruiti­est en­gine note, the BMW M235i was the best car of the bunch to drive. How­ever, al­though it comes with a me­chan­i­cal Torsen limited slip dif­fer­en­tial and brake­ac­tu­ated torque vec­tor­ing in the rear, the BMW M235i

suc­cumbs to be­ing nose heavy and will un­der­steer if you ap­proach a cor­ner with too much en­thu­si­asm. Fuel con­sump­tion was about 7.8 l/100 km.

CON­FLICTED ABOUT THE BMW 218I

Without a doubt this was my least favourite drive. I will be hon­est in say­ing that driv­ing the most pow­er­ful ver­sion of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé be­fore driv­ing the slow­est of­fer­ing of the bunch might have com­pro­mised my judge­ment a bit. Here we have a 1.5 litre three-cylin­der en­gine pro­duc­ing 103 kW and 220 Nm hooked up to a seven-speed au­to­matic box. BMW reckon that the 0-100 km/h sprint should be dealt with in 8.7 sec­onds. By no means is this car a slouch. It just lacks the ex­cite­ment that the other two of­fer. Re­gard­less, I am sure it would be suf­fi­cient for city driv­ing, but only just. The ride is just as soft as the other mod­els and the cor­ner­ing as di­rect. Fuel con­sump­tion is also a sell­ing point here at a rated 5.9 l/100 km.

FI­NAL WORD

At R644,600 I sus­pect the BMW 220d will prove the most pop­u­lar pur­chase as it pro­vides the best value propo­si­tion as far as per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency are con­cerned. The R556,800 BMW 218i was just too bor­ing for me and while the BMW M235i was the most fun to drive, it also costs the most with the price rang­ing from R785,100 up­ward. It all boils down to how much money you have ly­ing around. It is also worth not­ing that the BMW 2 series Gran Coupé has no­table com­pe­ti­tion from the Mercedes CLA and Audi’s A3.

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