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Plug-in version of BMW's small MPV driven in the UK.
17in alloy wheels, sport seats with anthracite cloth upholstery, LED headlights, high-gloss Shadowline exterior trim, Parking Assistance with reversing camera and Park Distance Control.
Petrol mild hybrid:
170hp 1.5, 218hp 2.0
245hp 1.5, 326hp 1.5
Sport, Luxury, M Sport
Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
The 2 Series Active Tourer already impressed at launch last year, with its stylish looks, spacious and minimalist interior, and good driving dynamics. However, despite the petrol models boasting mild hybrid technology, we were told then that the real running cost saving for this MPV could be seen in the 225 and 230e xDrive plug-in hybrid versions launched later in 2022.
We've now had the chance to get behind the wheel of a 225e, in M Sport specification. This powertrain combines the 136hp, 1.5-litre petrol turbo engine with a 16.3kWh battery and 109hp motor on the back axle, resulting in 245hp, 477Nm of torque, 0-62mph acceleration in 6.7 seconds. This four-wheel drive has a top speed of 121mph. More interesting to business buyers, is the confirmed 8% BIK figure, 15g/km CO2 emission figure, official combined fuel consumption of up to 470.8mpg, and the fact this MPV can be driven up to 56 miles on electric power alone, although we saw 40 during the very cold conditions when we drove it.
Outside, the big giveaway is the extra charging flap on the offside front wing, the subtle BMW i Badging on the front wings and 225e badging at the back. You won't miss the large kidney grilles at the front, although these stand out less with the M Sport's standard dechrome. Our car was fitted with optional Tech Pack, which included the excellent LED front headlights. It is no beauty, but the 2 Series Active Tourer looks smart and modern enough.
Inside, it was interesting to live with the 2 Series Active Tourer's minimalist interior. The 10.25in screen for the instruments is big enough, but the design of the instruments makes them hard to read. The other 10.7in screen for the infotainment is slick enough, although some sort of iDrive controller would be more welcome, instead of the small buttons or touching the screen. The lack of ventilation controls is a noticeable omission, too. Still, the minimalist interior is spacious, with decent leg and headroom front and rear. The boot, although down to 380 litres (due to the hybrid kit), is practically shaped with enough room for a weekend away for four and a dog, as I proved.
This BMW starts off in complete silence in full-electric mode, although even in 'Eco Pro' mode the petrol engine cuts in quickly, giving welcome needed extra traction especially in the snowy conditions when we road tested this car. It was noticeable that in 'Sport' mode, the weighting of the throttle and steering was changed. Considering it has nearly 250hp, performance is best described as willing rather than sporty and any heavy acceleration is accompanied by the three-cylinder thrum of the engine. Like all modern plug-ins, the 225e feels fastest when there's plenty of charge in the battery.
Our test car was in M Sport trim, with optional 19in alloy wheels, so the ride was on the firm side, but not uncomfortable. The steering could do with more feel in our opinion. In corners you'll notice the tall body and extra weight of the hybrid system, but this BMW is still a tidy handler and the xDrive system gives welcome extra grip.
The MPV might be a dying breed, but in plug-in hybrid form, this BMW is one of the best available. Impressively practical and spacious, the plug-in drivetrain gives welcome running cost savings, plus the extra safety of four-wheel drive - without compromising the driving experience.
BMW 225e xDrive Active Tourer M Sport Tech Plus
Residual value: 41.16%
Service, maintenance and repair: £2,195
Cost per mile: 54.14p
Fuel consumption: 32.0mpg
CO2 (BIK %): 15g/km (8%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £56/£113
Luggage capacity: 380 litres
Engine size/power: 1,499cc/136hp with 109hp electric motor