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.
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.
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.
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 to170kW/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.