BMW 2 Series Active Tourer: Car Review
The Active Tourer shows thinking outside the traditional BMW box…
What is it?
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is a spacious and practical multi-purpose-vehicle that introduces front-wheel-drive technology to the Bavarian brand along with the company’s first three-cylinder engine.
How safe is it?
The 2 Series Active Tourer is still to be tested in the Euro NCAP ratings but the vehicle boasts an extensive range of safety features to protect occupants and pedestrians alike.
Who should buy one?
Anyone looking for practicality blended with style, performance and economy. BMW has three targets in mind – young families, empty nesters and young professionals.
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
The Active Tourer is the second 2 Series model to be unveiled and follows on from the stylish coupé. Offering space for five adults plus a very generous load capacity, the car offers all the practicality and versatility you could wish for, but there has been very little compromise when it comes to performance.
Initially, the 2 Series Active Tourer is available with a choice of just two engines – a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine with 134bhp and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder 148bhp diesel with further choices to be introduced later down the line.
The vehicle has been designed on a new architectural platform that can be adjusted and customised for future models, but most notably it is the first vehicle BMW has produced that offers front-wheel-drive and also is powered by a three-cylinder engine.
This ultra-low friction, all-aluminium powertrain has been designed to deliver high performance along with fuel efficiency – the result is a car capable of delivering peak power of 134bhp yet emitting just 115g/km in carbon emissions.
The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission which has also been newly developed (an eight-speed automatic gearbox is an option).
Despite being a three-cylinder, the test car coped admirably on a road route that incorporated busy town centres, long twisting country lanes and some faster motorway driving.
The engine delivers ample power to accelerate on long straights and acceleration is smooth and constant through the gears. On the downside, we did find we were changing down to lower gears quite a lot on steeper inclines or when an extra burst of power was required – there seemed to be a little bit of a lull in power output on occasions.
That aside the car performed superbly. The road-holding was excellent and tight bends posed no problems and could be attacked with confidence. Three different driving modes – Sport, Comfort and ECO Pro – adjust the car’s handling accordingly.
The well-insulated cabin meant road, engine and wind noise was kept at bay and the high-seated driving position is another plus-factor.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
This is an area where the 2 Series Active Tourer really excels with a Tardis-like interior capable of accommodating five adults and any luggage requirements along the way.
All occupants are treated to vast amounts of leg, head and elbow space and the trio of 40:20:40 split rear seats can be moved forwards, backwards or even tilted to suit requirements.
At the push of a button the back seats are automatically folded flat and the boot capacity is increased from a creditable 468 litres to a whopping 1510 litres. There is a foldable boot floor with extras storage beneath along with generously sized door pockets, a central bin, plus smaller compartments scattered throughout the cabin. The introduction of an automatic handbrake has freed up enough space to introduce two cup holders.
Because of the high seats (2cm higher than a BMW X1) entering and exiting the vehicle is very easy which is another bonus if travelling with young children or anyone with mobility issues.
As well as all the instantly recognisable safety features, the 2 Series Active Tourer also introduces a new Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, which significantly improves pedestrian safety. If a pedestrian is detected, the car emits a visible and audible warning to the driver. If these are ignored, the car will automatically begin to reduce speed.
Also, a new Parking Assistant system uses ultrasound to help the driver look for an appropriate parking space. The car then takes charge of the steering wheel leaving the driver to brake, accelerate and change gears as the car manoeuvres perfectly into the gap.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is richly equipped from entry level SE upwards. The car boasts a 6.5-inch colour screen which is navigated via BMW’s easy-to-use iDrive rotary controller located next to the gear stick. This operates the sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and plenty more besides.
Other features include dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors and a reversing camera. The very effective head up display is part of an optional navigation package.
With prices starting from £22,125 the 2 series Active Tourer is competitively priced, but like most premium models that price tag increases considerably as optional extras are added. For example the test car started out with an asking price of £24,295, but once the likes of comfort packs, technology packs, navigation systems and advanced communication options were added the price had reached a rather hefty £31,105.
In all honesty, you can start with the basic model – which in reality is anything but basic – and then spend as much or little as you want speccing up the car.
The Active Tourer shows thinking outside the traditional BMW box.
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds
Economy: 57.6mpg combined
Insurance: Group 15
Tax: Band C
Figures for the BMW 218i Active Tourer Sport (manual)