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BMW Actively changing its 2 Series

28.01.2015

AS A brand BMW has always been proud of the fact that its cars are front-engined/rear-wheel-drive and sometimes even all-wheel-drive models. It is the brand�s signature so when you hear that its newest car, the 2 Series Active Tourer is front-wheel-drive you must conclude that BMW has spotted a gap in a market where almost every niche is covered.

So what is it?

Well BMW will tell you that it is its latest lifestyle vehicle whereas I have surmised it as a very accomplished Mercedes-Benz B-Class rival which makes it an MPV. It is pitched at a totally new market for the brand with hopes that existing BMW fans will also find it in-keeping with the marque’s values.

Why front-wheel-drive?

It’s simple. The brand has been producing competent front-wheel-drive vehicles for over ten years with the Mini brand and it was only a matter of time before these filtered to BMW. Front-wheel-drive also offers numerous packaging advantages. There’s more space in the rear quarters and cargo area as a result.

This means that the Active Tourer has 468 litres of boot space and 1 510 litres with the flexible rear seats folded down. Speaking of the seats, these can be moved back or forward, while also being flexible enough to offer several seating configurations, again, pointing to the lifestyle aspect of the vehicle.

Those looks

Many a modern BMW has split the automotive world’s option in terms of aesthetics and this one is sure to do the same. From the front it’s unmistakably a BMW with those kidney grilles, while from the side, you’ll notice its people carrier silhouette, which is offset by some signature crease lines, while the rear is designed to provide as practical a loading bay as possible. I am a traditional BMW fan so this vehicle will take a while to settle with me. However, I cannot deny that its design is very practical with that ‘green-house’ effect in full swing.

New bits inside

This is where I noticed, most of all, that this is an all-new product for the brand. From the seats, to the gear knob to the key and even the indicator and light stalks are all new. There are still some of the traditional BMW touches like the thick steering wheel, obligatory orange gauges and the iDrive system.

Does it feel like a BMW?

In a word… yes, but not in the way you’d think. It provides a quality driving experience and a seriously supple ride quality however, in terms of handling, it is very different and certainly not as capable as a 3 or 2 Series for example. It is a more comfort-orientated driving experience.

You are also encouraged to sit in a more MPV-like seating position by virtue of the slanted instrument panel, which takes the BMW driving position away; this is not necessarily a negative thing but is certainly something to get used to.

Engine and models

At the bottom of the engine tree is the brand’s superb new 100kW/220Nm 1.5-litre three-cylinder motor as seen in the Mini Cooper, which will be available in the 218i manual and six-speed automatic. The little motor is claimed to use just 5.1 litres/100km and be exempt from CO2 taxation.

The middle of the petrol range is populated by the 220i, which uses the same 2.0-litre turbo motor from the Mini Cooper S with 141kW/280Nm on tap. The 220i can be had with manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The top-of-the-range petrol is the 225i with the same 2.0-litre motor, which has been tuned to 170kW/350Nm and comes with the eight-speed ZF transmission.

In terms of diesels, the 220d will be the only oil burner for the moment with 140kW/400Nm on tap as well as fuel returns of 4.5 litres per 100km and the option of either a manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

Peace of mind

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer comes with a five-year/100 000km motor plan as well as a two-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

Overall

I am a fan of Bavaria’s newest addition; I didn’t think that I would be however, I cannot fault BMW for the execution of its plan to introduce a vehicle in this segment; it simply ticks many of the MPV boxes and retains a semblance of that BMW-ness that we all know.

Pricing

2 Series Active Tourer 218i manual  R378 00
2 Series Active Tourer 220i manual R401 000
2 Series Active Tourer 220d manual R428 500
2 Series Active Tourer 218i automatic R396 000
2 Series Active Tourer 220i automatic R419 000
2 Series Active Tourer 220d automatic R446 500
2 Series Active Tourer 225i automatic  R447 000

 

Article written by Sean Nurse
28.01.2015
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