BMW 218D M Sport Active Tourer Auto

In BMW, Volkswagen, Vauxhall on December 11, 2018 at 11:41 pm

218 D MSport active T 3Last week I swapped my top of the range BMW 225xe Luxury Active Tourer for an M Sport diesel.

My usual car boasts up to 220 BHP (assuming there’s charge in the hybrid motor), whilst the 218D represents the second lowest access point to the range with 148 BHP.

One might therefore imagine I felt short changed?  The truth is the diesel was way better than anticipated.

The slower car 2.0 litre diesel always has 148 bhp on tap, but the 1.5 litre 225xe only has 136 bhp when the battery has been exhausted.

All of which means there are times when a brisk overtaking manoeuvre can sometimes take longer than anticipated.

So the £4500 cheaper car serves up quicker progress more of the time, and the 2.0 litre lump is incredibly quiet.

In every day driving the petrol hybrid returns 47 mpg, but that doesn’t allow for the electricity I pump into it each evening.

The 218D managed just over 43 mpg in my hands, but I’m guessing the engine was still “tight” and mpg would improve over time.

218 D MSport active T 4

So how was the 218 in the cut and thrust of 200 odd miles of motoring?  Surprisingly good.

The road holding seemed better than on my 225xe (which is currently on winter tyres).

I really noticed the 218D feeling far more agile than the 218D Grand Tourer.  The pearlescent white Active Tourer also had a sliding back seat (not available on the 225xe).

The only things I missed were heated seats, and steering wheel, and my big glass sunroof.

The latter helps with ventilation, and the 218D misted up when it was raining.

On balance if your looking for a 5 seat MPV the BMW 218D Active Tourer M Sport auto would make a fine choice.

218 D MSport active T 2

Would the private buyer miss the nigh on silent 20 odd miles of battery powered propulsion each day?

Probably not.

So would I recommend one?

Not really.

The A and B pillars block out too much vision (whichever engine is chosen).

I reckon the set up must cause numerous accidents each year.

Most folk would be better off with an Astra 1.4 turbo reviewed yesterday, or a Golf!




“It’s got a Sport button!”

In Vauxhall, Volkswagen on December 10, 2018 at 11:59 pm

IMG_3801Two or three years back a friend took me all the way from Basingstoke to Devon in a recent shape Astra Diesel estate.

As a passenger the whole experience was remarkably civilised.

It was much better than expected.

Last month I was in Ireland and played the rental car lottery, and look what they gave me.

A manual Astra 1.4 Turbo!

Guess what?

It turned out to be bloomin’ marvelous.

Comfortable – CHECK

Roomy – CHECK

Attractive – CHECK

Thrifty – CHECK (over 38 mpg when thrashed)

Bluetooth – Check


After a few hours my colleague noticed a Sport button.

Okay so it didn’t feel that quick, but 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds for a boggo hire car ain’t that bad!

So it missed out on Sat Nav, but it did get Cruise Control and a nice dashboard.

Was it as good as a lowly Golf hired on my last trip?


Is a Golf worth wheelbarrow loads of extra dosh?

I doubt it.

Second hand 2018 low mileage Astras come in at under £11,000.

That’s got to be a bargain.

Maybe just look out for one with Sat Nav, and be prepared to pay a bit more.


The only bits I’d mark it down on are;

Identity.  Our car wore a Vauxhall badge, but the bluetooth pairing called our car an Opel!

Road Noise. Not as whisper quiet as a VW.


Long time coming

In Hyundai on October 11, 2018 at 8:54 pm

Handover 2It’s been a long time coming.  Gone are the days when we chop in our cars every few months.

Our blue BMW 125 MSport was sold a few weeks back, and after a few test drives a replacement has been found.

We’ve lost 100 horse power, and low profile tyres.  In exchange we now have suspension that floats over the pot-holed roads, and acceleration which is “pedestrian at best”.


Are we disappointed?  Not really.  We now have a warranty which runs until 2023, a panoramic opening sunroof, reversing camera and even a spare wheel.

Handover 1

I’d even argue that a Hyundai i20 is more beautiful.

For roughly half the price we paid last time round we’ve forsaken leather sports seats (but even so they are still heated) and lost 4 cogs in our auto box.

The previous owner bought the car new, and then chopped it for an i30.  That saved us £4000.

The only “loss” we’ve incurred by getting a “run out” model is that ours is a 1.4, rather than a modern 1.0 litre 3 cylinder with a 6 speed DCT box.

In the last 2 weeks we’ve only covered 300 miles.

More reports our 4th Hyundai to follow later.