The gloves are well and truly off in the premium compact car segment, now that Mercedes-Benz is assembling the A-Class Sedan locally. In an attempt to beat back the competition, BMW has updated the 218i Gran Coupé in Malaysia with the range-topping BMW Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system, adding a larger touchscreen and switching out the analogue instrument cluster for a digital one.
With this change comes a RM5,000 premium, meaning that the car creeps back above the RM200,000 mark to RM204,177 on-the-road without insurance. That’s with the sales and service tax (SST) exemption and the standard two-year, unlimited-mileage warranty; add the optional five-year warranty and service package back in and the price goes up to RM216,367. That’s over RM6,000 dearer than the Mercedes A 200.
For that, you get two 10.25-inch displays for instrumentation and infotainment. Previously, the 218i came with an 8.8-inch centre touchscreen and a small 5.1-inch multi-info display sandwiched between two analogue dials, so that’s a big step up.
You also get an upgrade to the latest BMW Operating System 7, offering a new interface with larger tiles, over-the-air software updates and the Intelligent Personal Assistant that can be summoned by saying “Hey BMW.” As per a similar update to the 320i earlier this year, the switch has come as the expense of Qi wireless charging and the BMW Digital Key, which have been omitted from the kit list.
Otherwise, standard equipment remains identical and includes the M Sport appearance package, LED head- and taillights, 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels, keyless entry, push-button start, power-adjustable front sports seats with driver’s side memory, parking assist with a Reversing Assistant, passive M Sport suspension, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, a reverse camera, six speakers and a hands-free opening bootlid.
The 218i also offers identical safety kit that includes the Driving Assistant package, adding autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. No change to the mechanicals either – power comes from a B38 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, pushing out 140 PS and 220 Nm of torque. A Getrag seven-speed wet dual-clutch transmission is fitted as standard.
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