BMW 2-series Active Tourer Test Drive Review
28 July 2014
BusinessCar reviews the BMW 2-series
Think of BMW and a front-wheel drive MPV isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
The 2-series Active Tourer is the German brand's first foray into offering a practical, tall, hatch and it hopes it will become a formidable conquest product. There will also be some cannibalisation from drivers that are currently in the 1-series and need more space, but as much as 70% will be new customers.
While many BMW models are strong fleet players, the brand is expecting the first year of 4000 sales to be split 50/50 between retail and corporate customers.
The 218d SE will take the majority of total sales with 35%, while the 218i will take close to 30% over time and could even rival the 218d in popularity due to the resurgence in small petrol engines for small cars. BMW said there will be a 216d model launched before the end of 2014 too, along with higher-powered 220d and 220d xDrive versions. All transmissions feature auto stop-start.
The 2-series Active Tourer is only actually marginally longer than a 1-series, but drivers will find much more interior space, with the roof height helping to increase head and elbow room. There's ample space in the back too, with enough knee room when a six-footer is driving.
The boot offers 468 litres of space and this increases to 1510 litres with the rear seats folded flat. The rear seats split 40:20:40 and use a simple button-release system. There is also a three-level foldable boot floor that conceals extra storage compartments.
All 2-series Active Tourers benefit from BMW's familiar Efficient Dynamics technology, which includes brake energy regeneration and a gear shift indicator, as well as various weight-saving and aerodynamic trickery.
This has all helped to get emissions down to a low of 109g/km of CO2 on the 218d SE and down to 114g/km on the M-sport BusinessCar tested. The Active Tourer 218d SE has an official fuel economy of 65.7mpg.
While the Active Tourer 218d M-sport has the highest P11D value against its rivals, 20% taxpayers will pay the lowest benefit-in-kind rate at 18% with a monthly payment of £81 when compared against the equivalent B-class or Ford C-max at £85 each. The Volkswagen Golf SV is £1 per month extra, but has less boot space and it's not quite as efficient as the BMW.
BMW's decision to introduce front-wheel drive variants has not been popular with purists, but the 2-series Active Tourer is surprisingly sharp and the steering offers sufficient feedback. It's not sporty, but the car feels well balanced and the power delivery from the 218d is quiet and smooth.