For the first time ever, BMW has expanded its portfolio to introduce front-wheel-drive and three cylinder engines into the model line-up with the introduction of the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.
Available from September, The Active Tourer is the second member of the new BMW 2 Series range (following on after the Coupe), “combining dynamism, style, elegance and practicality into one cleverly packaged car with new lightweight turbocharged engines with three and four cylinders, a comprehensive package of BMW EfficientDynamics measures and BMW ConnectedDrive too!
With a maximum 0-62mph of 8.9 seconds with the 218d SE, combined mpg of around 68.9 and CO2 emissions as low as 109 g/km, it looks as if the 2 series Active Tourer can live up to the ‘perfectly suited to the increasing challenges of urban mobility’ claim.
Not only is the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer versatile, it is also stylish; from the low-rise double kidney grille positioned lower than the headlights, to the steeply raked windscreen and defined bonnet, the word sporty springs to mind immediately when you look at it- and stays there once you realise that the car’s aerodynamic efficiency means that the new BMW 218i Active Tourer has a drag coefficient of just 0.26.
The Tourer may be pretty compact in its build, but inside there is enough room to fit 5 people comfortably in the cabin lit by the large glass surround area that includes the optional panoramic roof and the A-pillar triangle window, both of which also improve all-round visibility. This, of course, gives the whole of the interior a light and airy feel that is enhanced by the horizontally structured, layered styling of the instrument panel and the door panels which combine to also underline the sporty character of the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.
Driver will be pleased to know that their seating is higher than that of a saloon, so vision is improved as is the access to the car.
There is plenty of room inside the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, especially in the rear of the car – with plenty of consideration for the more actively-lifestyled driver and the family ‘transporter’ amongst us.
There’s a maximum luggage compartment capacity of 1,510 litres (enlarged), with 40:20:40 split-folding rear backrest fitted as standard – including a sliding rear seat for more space that can also be reclined. The large, wide opening tailgate allows easy access; itself made easier with either the push button automatic opening and closing, or the Smart-Opener function where a quick flick of the foot sets it in motion.
And if more space is required then there is the foldable boot floor hiding a storage compartment with a handy multifunction tray.
Comfort and Handling
You saw in our opening bit of blurb to the article that this is the first time that BMW has introduced front-wheel-drive into its model range, but it’s not just any old front-wheel-drive; Oh no. It’s a new, state-of-the-art, front-wheel-drive system that features in the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer that somehow balances both comfort and agility.
There is a newly developed chassis with a highly advanced single-joint spring-strut front axle at its core to offer “excellent directional control, largely torque-steer-free steering and pliancy for excellent ride comfort” and a newly-developed multi-link rear axle, just to make sure that the driving dynamics of the car are as excellent as they should be.
The power behind the thrill
The new BMW 218i Active Tourer is powered by an all-new ultra-low-friction, all-aluminium core three-cylinder engine equipped with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, part of a newly developed modular family with the aim of providing high-performance and fuel-efficiency – an aim most definitely achieved as the car produces CO2 emissions of only 115g/km, yet peak power of 136hp.
Thanks to turbocharging, direct petrol injection, double-Vanos variable camshaft timing and the longer firing intervals of the three-cylinders, throttle response is sharp, helping the engine to reach its peak torque of 220Nm at only 1,250rpm, and sustained all the way until 4,300rpm.
There is another engine available in the two engine line-up when the BMW 218i Active Tourer launches, and that is a new four-cylinder diesel engine; turbocharged and common rail direct-injected, optimised performance with optimised efficiency, CO2 emissions as low as 109g/km, power of 150hp and a peak torque of 330Nm.
When it comes to the transmission for the engine, as standard you get a newly developed six-speed manual unit, with an optional six-speed automatic transmission for the three-cylinder engine.
For the four-cylinder engine, BMW have developed a new eight-speed automatic transmission just to take account of the front-wheel-drive configuration and the transverse engine; and all transmissions feature Auto Start-Stop.
What you can get here in the UK
Here, in addition to the entry level version Sport, Luxury and M Sport models will also be available with the concentrating on attracting the more dynamic consumer, while the Luxury model does exactly what it says on the tin for those who want elegance and exclusivity.
From November, you’ll be able to pick up a higher-power 225i with xDrive four-wheel-drive, alongside further models: BMW 220i, 216d, 220d and 220d xDrive Active Tourer.
At the entry level for the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer the specification is already much more than extended specs for many other cars, and includes: Automatic tailgate, two-zone automatic air conditioning, rear Park Distance Control, BMW Emergency Call, 40:20:40 split folding rear seat with electronic folding functionality and 60:40 sliding rear bench, Bluetooth with USB interface and audio streaming functionality, BMW Professional radio with single CD player and 6.5-inch monitor, DAB digital radio, Performance Control, Comfort Go keyless engine start and Drive Performance Control with ECO PRO, Comfort and Sport modes are also included. Rain sensor with automatic headlight activation, Sport multi-function leather steering wheel & additional 12V power socket complete the standard specification highlights.
Moving on up to the Sport models the experience is enhanced by the addition of 17” Sport alloy wheels, Sport front seats, LED ambient lighting, Black High-gloss trim and Sport enhancements to the exterior styling.
And then, luxury lovers, the luxury models build on this with 17” Luxury alloy wheels, Dakota leather upholstery, LED ambient lighting, Chromeline exterior, Fineline Stream wood trim and Luxury enhancements to exterior styling.
From November, M Sport models will be available with an M Aerodynamics package, M Sport suspension and 18” M light-alloy wheels complemented by an M leather steering wheel and specially upholstered sports seats.
When it comes to safety features, BMW have started from the very beginning by using high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile multi-phase steels to create the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, making it stiffer, safer and lighter. (Lightness is also helped by a bonnet made of lightweight aluminium.) And then you add in technology such as the Auto Start-Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration, Optimum Gearshift Indicator, on-demand operation of ancillary units and the integral Aero Curtain, which uses two vertical air inlets in the front bumper to direct the airstream along the front wheels, and you have a car that will look after you just as you want it to!
So much more.
There’s a whole host of standard and optional technological features that are available on the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer to make driving safer, and keep its occupants connected with the outside world.
For the first time ever in this particular segment, BMW offers a full colour Head-Up Display as an option available as part of the Professional Plus Media package) where all information is shown on a screen that extends out between the steering wheel and windscreen so that drivers to see all key information without having to take their eyes off the road.
Then there is the new Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, which warns the driver if there is a pedestrian or a stationary vehicle nearby by sounding off both an audible and visible signal to warn the driver, and prepares to brake. If the driver fails to react, the system acts autonomously to reduce vehicle speed.
The new Parking Assistant from BMW improves parking comfort and safety by identifying parking spaces that are around one metre longer than the car by using ultrasound sensors on both sides. This happens at speeds below 22mph.And once that space has been found, Parking Assistant takes over the steering so that all the driver has to concentrate on is accelerating, braking and switching between forward and reverse gears.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is available for lease from Nationwide Vehicle Contracts.