BMW 2 Series Active Tourer review

Second-generation MPV returns in mildly divisive front-driven form. More convincing than ever with solid performance, exceptional usability, and practical family appeal

BMW Traditionalists were not happy with the first-generation 2 Series Active Tourer, but it sold 430,000 units in eight years worldwide, so a second generation was inevitable.

The second-generation model is very similar to its predecessor, so it’s not surprising. Tauter surfacing and new detailing give the model a sharper look and make it more aerodynamically efficient. Approximately 80% of 2Series Active Tourer customers are new to the brand. This is a record for any other BMW model.

The new Active Tourer measures in at 4386mm long, 1824mm width, and 1576mm tall. It is only 67mm longer, 25mm wider, and 142mm higher that the BMW 1 Series hatchback. Its generous height and wide opening doors allow for easy access to the front and rear seats.

The interior of the new BMW closely mirrors the iX. With a curved screen housing the 10.3in instrument display and 10.7in infotainment display, the interior feels more luxurious. The touchscreen controls most functions, including the iDrive controller, but there is no iDrive controller.

Between the front seats is a pod that houses an electric handbrake and a gearbox controller. There is a large storage bin in front of it, and larger bins inside each door. The Active Tourer is designed for city driving and sits 120mm higher than the 1 Series hatch.

Another advantage is the intelligent use of space in combustion engine car standards. The rear seat can be pushed forward to increase head, elbow, and shoulder space.

Seven new models are available: 218i-220i, 223, 223i-223i, 223i-218d, 223i-218d, 223i-218d, 223i-218d, 223i-218d, 225e-xDrive, and 230e-xDrive. You can now drive the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol fours in the 220i or 223i with 48V hybrid assistance. All engines have a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox. The 223i has optional xDrive all wheel drive.

The top-of the-line 223i offers a great turn of speed, excellent handling and remarkable low-speed maneuverability. A heavily modified petrol engine is paired with an electric motor that can deliver up to 19bhp. This gives it a total of 215bhp, and 265 lb ft. This is a very eager powertrain that can accept revs well while being quiet and smooth when working hard.

BMW claims that the new dual-clutch auto gearbox is smooth and quick. It can go from 0 to 62 mph in 7.0 seconds. It also boasts impressive economy, with a WLTP figure between 42.8 and 47.1 mpg.

BMW claims that the steering is extremely light because it is driven by customer demand. It also feels very synthetic. However, the system provides impressive responses and is very direct, even though it lacks real communication.

Firm damping is helpful to control body movement on winding roads. Although there will be inevitable lean as lateral forces build up in corners, it is gradual and well controlled. You can also load the front tyres with your purchase and have good grip. Overall, agility is remarkable.

The ride is smooth and familiar BMW-like, with a generous wheel travel and optional adaptive damping. However, the ride is more comfortable than ever thanks to its compliance and absorption.

Although the 2 Series Active Tourer may not be the best choice for family car buyers it is far more practical than the 1 Series and much more enjoyable to drive. It will be the only MPV option in the BMW lineup, following the discontinuation of the 2 Series Gran Tourer.