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First drive: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Date: 11 April 2022   |   Author: Martyn Collins

With its new look inside and out plus mild hybrid engine technology, can the 2 Series Active Tourer breathe life into the MPV class?
Standard equipment:
17in alloy wheels, sport seats with anthracite cloth upholstery, LED headlights, high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim, and Parking Assistance with reversing camera and Park Distance Control
Petrol: 170hp 1.5, 218hp 2.0
Diesel: 150hp 2.0
Equipment grades:
Sport, Luxury, M Sport
Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic

Only when I was researching rivals for this 2 Series Active Tourer, did I realise how few competitors it has now. The seemingly endless growth of SUVs and crossovers is swallowing up the MPV class - just like the upper-medium class. 

Still, 430,000 units sold of the first-generation version of the 2 Series Active Tourer plus few rivals must make production of the new second generation model viable. 

Outside, the styling for the 2 Series Active Tourer is more evolution than revolution - although there is no seven-seater Grand Tourer model anymore. The biggest change is at the front, with this model following the big kidney grille style most recently seen on the iX Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) and i4. There are also full-LED front headlights, which together give the Active Tourer way more presence - even if the result couldn't be called attractive. Our advice if you are buying is to choose the M Sport equipment grade, where the dechrome means the grilles stand out less. 

At the side, there is much more smooth surfacing than before, with the cleaner door handles and two precisely drawn character lines. BMW calls them the "upward tick," which starts from the grilles and ends in the raked A-pillar windows - including a sharp under graphic at the bottom of the doors. The back looks more like the outgoing model, but the lights now feature LED technology.

The inside of the 2 Series is more of a revolution, as like the iX and i4, the Active Tourer benefits from the latest curved infotainment display, made up of two screens and dominates the slim design of the dashboard. The first is for the digital instruments and measures 10.25in, plus a 10.7in screen for the infotainment.  Running BMW's latest OS8 software, like the iX the infotainment is easy to use. Also, like the iX, we still miss the physical controls for the climate and on this 2 Series buttons to engage the different driver modes, which are instead hidden in the infotainment. Finally, although easier to read than in the iX, it is still difficult to know what speed you're doing at a glance.

Our test car had "Exclusive" wood trim, which although not our choice was well finished. In fact, apart from the column stalks, the overall material quality inside this car was top notch.  

BMW seems to be on a mission to declutter with the Active Tourer's interior, as there is no rotary selector - or even a gear selector on the floating centre console. Instead, drive is engaged via buttons. Still, the lack of these adds to the feeling of interior space inside this car, front and rear. There is even a decently sized 406-litre boot, that can be extended to 1,455 litres with the rear seat folded. 

There are three flavours of 2 Series Active Tourer - two petrol and one diesel. Petrol versions start with the 220i that we drove, which is powered by the familiar 1.5-litre three-cylinder unit that is also used in the Mini range. However, this BMW debuts mild hybrid technology, where a 48V electric motor acts as a starter generator and power booster for the engine. In fact, it generates an extra 19hp when pulling away, or during mid-range acceleration - plus provides smoother operation of the start/stop system. It is charged on the overrun and when braking and in this 2 Series is hidden under the boot. In 220i form, this means 170hp, 280Nm of torque, and 0-62mph acceleration in 8.1 seconds, yet it emits just 133-148g/km of CO2 and achieves 43.5-47.9mpg and a 31% BiK rate for the Lux Tech Plus version of the vehicle that we drove. 

The 223i is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder unit developing 218hp and 360Nm. It sprints from 0-62mph in seven seconds, yet emits just 137-149g/km and achieves 42.8-47.1mpg.

Diesel is expected to have the lowest proportion of the mix, but the new BMW 218d Active Tourer is fitted with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, that like the petrol has undergone extensive development. With 150hp and 360Nm, the new 218d accelerates from 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds, while returning 53.3-58.9mpg with emissions of just 125-138g/km.

Of most interest for fleet customers are two plug-in hybrid models that will join the range from summer this year. The BMW 230e xDrive and 225e xDrive Active Tourer feature fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology, consisting of a current-excited electric motor installed in a single housing, along with the power electronics and transmission and the latest battery and charging technology. More details of these plug-in models will follow but expect 49 miles electric-only range. 

Sport, Luxury and M Sport specifications area available. Our 220i was in the Luxury grade, which equals a firm, but controlled ride. The steering is best described as light but precise, but even in Sport mode you wish for more connection. The tall body equals some body roll, but the 2 Series Active Tourer is a tidy handler. 

Whichever 2 Series Active Tourer you choose, the key attractions are the stylish, well-finished and spacious interior. Plus, the mild hybrid technology works well, although we would say wait for the plug-in hybrids to make the most of running cost savings.

BMW 220i Active Tourer Lux Tech Plus   

P11D: £34,570

Residual value: £11,472

Depreciation: £23,098

Fuel: £8,343

Service, maintenance and repair: £2,047

Cost per mile: 55.81p

Fuel consumption: 47.9mpg

CO2 (BIK %): 135g/km (31%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £179/£357

Luggage capacity: 406 litres

Engine size/power: 1.499cc/170hp


  • Stylish
  • Well-made and spacious interior
  • Impressive performer
  • Some infotainment issues
  • Overlight steering
  • Styling will not appeal to all