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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
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PROS

  • Badge
  • Premium Interior
  • Four-wheel drive option
  • Three-cylinder refinement

CONS

  • Tough competition
  • Awkward styling
  • Can get pricey

Verdict

There aren’t many niches the German firm hasn’t filled but the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer looks set to plug one of the few gaps available.

And rivals such as the Ford C-Max, VW Golf SV and Citroen C4 Picasso should be worried; thanks to the BMW badge, the 2 Series Active Tourer is the most desirable compact five-seat people carrier on the market. There’s a seven-seat version due later as well, and both promise to provide practicality to BMW fans that can’t live without the brand’s image and performance credentials.

Front-wheel drive as standard

Reading the spec sheet they could expect to be a little disappointed; the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is the first car to emerge from the hallowed halls of BMW that sends its drive through the front wheels – as long as you ignore the BMW-owned MINI brand of course.

However, what that means is it’s easier to drive than ever, and while ultimately it’s not quite as precise or engaging as a 3 Series saloon, it’s still the sharpest of the compact MPV pack with good steering and excellent body control.

Add to that the option of the xDrive four-wheel drive system, a choice that’s been incredibly popular across the rest of the firm’s range here in the UK, and it’s no surprise that the 225i and 220d models will be available with this later in the year.

Petrol or Diesel

At launch there’s only a pair of engines to choose from; one four-cylinder diesel and one three-cylinder petrol, both with a focus on economy and efficiency rather than performance. The former produces 148bhp and 330Nm from its 2.0-litre turbocharged unit, completing the 0-62mph sprint in just 8.9 seconds.

Slightly slower, thanks to its smaller displacement (1.5-litres) is the three-cylinder turbocharged petrol, which takes 9.3 seconds to complete the same benchmark sprint and produces 134bhp and 220Nm of torque. The good news is it’s more refined, and you’d struggle to detect it’s only a three-cylinder unless driving it hard.

Later this year we’ll see the above pair joined by a 216d and 220d diesel pairing as well as 220i and 225i petrol engines. A choice of automatic gearboxes, six-speed for the three-cylinders and eight-speed for the four, supplement the standard six-speed manual gearbox on most engines.

Both launch engines emit less than 120g/km of CO2, ensuring cheap annual road tax costs, and even the triple-cylinder petrol can return over 57mpg – the diesel bettering this by over 10mpg on the combined cycle.

That’s all down to the firm’s EfficientDynamics kit, which on the 2 Series Active Tourer includes lightweight steel for the structure, Auto Start/Stop, brake energy recuperation and an Aero Curtain which improves aerodynamics to lower fuel consumption.

Practical

Once you’re past the draw of the badge it’s this car’s promised practicality that is the 2 Series Active Tourer’s key appeal. Unlike some of its rivals there are no individual seats in the rear, but the bench can be split 40/20/40 for folding and slid forwards and backwards to alter luggage space behind. In it’s most luxurious position legroom rivals that of the firm’s flagship 7 Series saloon.

The boot can hold 486 litres in this setup, and is aided by a large tailgate opening and flat load floor, with almost no load lip. Fold all of the rear seats and the space increases to hold up to 1,510 litres, or around the same as a 3 Series Touring.

Luxurious and sporty

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer arrives in the UK at the end of September, with prices starting from £23,000 and is available in Sport, Luxury and M Sport trims. Read the Parkers full BMW 2 Series Active Tourer review below to find out which one best suits your lifestyle.

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