The new BMW 2-series Active Tourer is a versatile five-seat MPV which will usher in a new era of front-drive models following its debut at the Geneva motor show this week. The new BMW is due to go on sale in the UK in September at a starting price confirmed to be below £23,000.
The 2-series Active Tourer adopts a transversely mounted engine and standard front-wheel drive. This layout has never been used by a fully fledged BMW series-production model before but it is set to underpin an impressive assembly of new BMW models.
It will also be the first BMW to be offered with three-cylinder power by way of a compact new turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engine, as featured in the new Mini hatchback.
The proportions of the 2-series Active Tourer differ greatly from those of traditional rear-drive BMWs, especially around the front end, which receives a comparatively short and heavily angled bonnet. The tall glasshouse also has a distinctive cab-forward influence not usually associated with BMWs.
At 4342mm in length, 1800mm in width and 1555mm in height, the 2-series Active Tourer is 18mm longer, 35mm wider and 134mm taller than BMW’s 1-series hatch. To put it into perspective, the Mercedes-Benz B-class, a similarly conceived front-drive MPV, is 4359m long, 1786mm wide and 1557mm tall.
The new MPV is the first BMW to utilise the company’s high-strength steel entry-level platform, as first unveiled by daughter company Mini in its new third-generation hatch.
The modular structure supports at least three wheelbases and variable track widths. This makes it suitable for a wide range of new models, including a successor to the X1 and a new front-drive, entry-level 1-series saloon, both of which are under intensive development at BMW's Munich engineering HQ right now.