The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer was the brand’s first ever front-wheel-drive ultimate driving machine – after the German company had always insisted they would never go front-wheel-drive. Although this might not interest all of you, it will certainly be an eye-opener for some of you.
It set other precedents, too, as it was their first attempt at a compact MPV. Here to rival the coveted Mercedes B-Class, there are a lot of question marks around the car, with some critics suggesting that it’s going to go down in history as a footnote and nothing more.
But with a big budget lavished on chassis development and engines, BMW hope this is one compact MPV that has legs. OSV takes a closer look to help you decide whether you’re a sceptic or a convert.
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Test Drive
Okay, so here it is: BMW’s first ever front-wheel-drive machine. So, how does it fare on the road?
BMW’s team of engineers have worked hard to ensure that this is car which lives up the badge. It feels balletic around town and agile at corners, and although the diesel unit is a bit grating, it feels stable even when you’re ragging it.
Not many people, though, will buy a compact MPV and expect it to handle like a sports car coupe, but this Active Tourer comes close to achieving the impossible. It’s not as engaging as its coupe stablemate, but it’s just as entertaining as the Ford C-MAX.
You can get your hands on one of three engines at launch. The base-level 1.5-litre 136PS three pot unit kicks things off; a zippy little number, it can get you from rest to 62mph in under 10 seconds. Next in line is a 2.0-litre four pot that is good for 231PS and covers the 0-62mph sprint in 6.8 seconds.
If you want some a little more serene, the 2.0-litre 150PS diesel that comes with the 218d might be your best bet. It’s the best option for families, and can get you from rest to 62mph in 8.9 seconds. It sounds a bit harsh, but it works well when your car is fully loaded.
The Interior, Design And Build Of The New BMW 3 Series Active Tourer
There doesn’t seem to be a lot that design teams can do with a compact MPV, and as such this 3 Series Active Tourer copies the template used by most other cars in this sector. If you took away the grille and badges, you’d find it hard to guess that this wasn’t a Mercedes.
The details, though, are nicely implemented but the design is overall very conservative and unimaginative. Compared to a rival Citroen C4 Picasso, this 3 Series seems really straightforward. There are, however, a few subtle nuances that aren’t readily obvious. For example, this 2 Series doesn’t share its underpinnings with the coupe, but instead sits on a n increased MINI chassis.
The interior is one of this car’s major selling points. Upmarket and classy, it’s head and shoulders above its rivals in terms of luxury. Whichever model you choose, the cabin will offer comfort, while the steering will offer precision. Exterior noise is hushed if you pick up one of the petrol engines, while the dash is logically arranged and user friendly.
This is the brand’s first foray into the MPV market, and practicality is not its strongest suit just yet. The interior is decently practical, and while there isn’t as much space available as there is in a rival Citroen or VW, you get a lot more than you do in the 2 Series coupe. There are lots of cubbyholes dotted around the interior, while the 468-litre boot is far from being a disappointment.
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Pricing And Running Costs
Prices for the new car start out from around £23,000.
Standard equipment across the range is good with entry-level models featuring silver interior and air conditioning. Sports models also add sports seats, while the Luxury line comes with alloys and some rather unique materials. The range-topping M range throws in a spots body kit and lower suspension.
In terms of running costs, the popular 1.5-litre turbo petrol unit returns 57.6mpg, ensuring that it’s a genuine rival for the diesel. Indeed, there aren’t all that many reasons to opt for the most expensive diesel unit with the exception of the promise of additional torque.
Our Favourite: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer M-Sport
Few saw it coming, but this car is one that BMW really needed to make. For too long now, the brand have been wasting resources on developing vehicles for sub-niches while forgoing major markets that are crying out for more talent.
One of the reasons BMW abstained for so long is obvious: They didn’t want to make a front-wheel-drive car. But such anxieties are in the past, and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer happily welcomes in a new era for the brand.
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