BMW fronts up with a u-turn

First Drive: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Make: BMW

Model: 2-Series Active Tourer

Year: 2014

Fuel: Diesel

Date Reviewed: July 21, 2014

Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 01:00


BMW’s new 2 Series Active Tourer represents a much-heralded u-turn for the Bavarian brand. After decades of dismissing rivals for their front-wheel drive models, claiming rear-wheel drive was the purist’s choice, the firm has had an about face.

In fact, BMW has managed three significant milestones with the introduction of its all-new compact MPV, the 2 Series Active Tourer. It’s the first BMW MPV and also the first BMW to utilise front-wheel drive along with having its engine mounted transversely, as opposed to BMW’s traditional inline layout. BMW has experience with designing front-wheel drive cars through its Mini range and the 2 Series Active Tourer is built on the new Mini’s architecture.

There will be two engines available initially to Irish motorists when the car goes on sale this September, one petrol and one diesel. The 218i SE (priced from €32,530) has a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 136hp and 220Nm of torque. This is the same engine that BMW has debuted recently in the new Mini. It’s an efficient unit and emits 115g/km of CO2, placing it in tax band A4, with an annual road tax of €200.

The 218d SE starts at €35,250 and is powered by a four-cylinder diesel engine developing 150hp and 330Nm of torque.

These two engines will be joined by new models in November, with the arrival of the 220i, 225i xDrive, 216d, 220d and 220d xDrive.

The 2 Series Active Tourer’s compact external dimensions are somewhat deceiving to the generous interior space on offer. There’s ample space for all occupants, with good head and legroom for rear-seat passengers who sit elevated on seats that slide forward and backwards to increase luggage space or legroom. They also recline, increasing comfort on long journeys.

The luggage compartment’s capacity can take 468 litres in volume, which can be increased to 1,510 litres with the rear seats folded down flat.

The 2 Series Active Tourer is available across four trim specifications, SE, Sport, Luxury and M Sport. Like all BMWs, there is a host of optional equipment available across the range.

Our test car was equipped with a colour head-up display, which is available as part of the professional plus media package. The key driving information is displayed on a small screen that automatically rises from behind the driver’s instrument binnacle on start-up. Your speed, along with the current speed limit is displayed, as are directions when you’re using the navigation system on your route, which we found particularly helpful.

We drove two variants at the launch, first a 225i four-cylinder petrol model and then the 218d diesel. The 225i has a smooth refined power train and was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. We would envisage the 218i three-cylinder petrol engine will make up the majority of petrol sales in Ireland, and it will be ideally suited to city driving and also capable on motorways.