Chris Miller reviews the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.
Offered in three variants, all with unmistakable BMW style, the first ever front wheel drive BMW is a competent car sure to find many Australian homes with prices starting at $44,400.
Aimed squarely at the B-Class range from Mercedes Benz, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer offers abundant interior space packaged in a compact body that is easy to manoeuvre around town, and is a satisfying drive on freeways and country roads.
Across 260km of challenging Tasmanian roads the Active Tourer proved to be a well sorted car dynamically with the only real complaint being an excess of road noise on coarse-chip roads.
With a trick electronic diff, well weighted steering that provides plenty of feedback, and a reasonable even ride running on big 18 inch wheels, the 2 Series Active Tourer feels like a BMW should, and in most cases the type of person buying this car wouldn’t care in the least whether the car is driven by its front wheels or the rears.
The space freed up with the front-wheel drive packaging is a real highlight, with adjustable back seats, a large, easily accessible cargo area (that boasts 1510 litres of space), and with the low window line, there’s a real sense of space no matter which seat you’re occupying.
The entry level 218i gets the same three-cylinder 1.5 litre twin turbo found in the all-new Mini.
While the 2 Series Active Tourer is a good 200kg heavier than the Mini, the little three-cylinder power plant with 100kW and 220Nm of torque is a great sounding, free revving engine that hauls around the Active Tourer with aplomb via a six-speed auto.
The torque comes on strong low in the rev range and there is always plenty of useable power. Economy is a highlight with BMW claiming 5.2l/per 100km. Prices for the 218i start at $44,400
The 218d adds $3,400 for the diesel engine, and while torque figures jump dramatically to 330Nm and you get an extra 10kW, extra pace isn’t particularly obvious – in fact it feels remarkably similar to the three cylinder petrol…but lacks its character.
Official fuel consumption figures are impressive though at 4.2L/per 100kms – prices start at $47,800.
The top of the range is the 225i, a two litre twin turbo four cylinder that produces 170kW and 350Nm. It pushes the Active Tourer along with lots of zip and makes for effortless overtaking all while still returning impressive economy figures – 6.2L/per100km.
The drive train is mated to BMW’s brilliant 8-Speed automatic gearbox (also found in the diesel). An upgraded suspension package that comes standard on the 225i give the car a more planted, stable feel engendering confidence to carry plenty of pace into corners and assuring things don’t become too unstable under heavy braking on bad road surfaces.
While the 225i is the most competent of the Active Tourer’s, it comes at a cost with prices kicking off at $54,900, which puts you firmly in to 3-Series territory.
There are plenty of standard features across the range including navigation, voice control, climate control, cruise control with braking function, multi-function sport leather steering wheel, keyless ignition, Rain Sensor automatic windscreen wipers and lights, electric windows and mirrors, and front and rear Park Distance Control.
Of course, like all BMW’s, you can spend thousands more an options.
Safety features include six airbags, Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, automatic Parking Assistant; Rear View Camera; Driving Assistant with Lane Departure Warning and Pedestrian and Collision Warnings with light city braking function; and Intelligent Emergency Call for automatic rapid response to accidents courtesy of the built-in SIM card.
Mercedes-Benz has something to worry about with this offering from BMW. It is better looking than the B-Class and has a premium, quality feel.
A competent handler with genuinely likable drive trains, the Active Tourer, regardless of the fact that is front wheel drive, is everything a BMW should be. And with a starting price of $44,400 expect to see a lot of them on Australian roads in the not too distant future.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine/Transmission – 218i – 1.5 litre 3-cylinder twin turbo with 100kW and 220Nm – 6-Speed Auto, 218d – 2.0 litre 4 cylinder turbo diesel with 110kW and 330Nm – 8-Speed Auto and 225i – 2.0 litre 4 cylinder twin turbo with 170kW and 350Nm – 8-Speed Auto
Safety: Not yet Tested
Warranty: Three years
Price: From $44,400