Currently reading: New BMW 2-series Active Tourer gets Geneva debut
MPV is first-ever front-wheel-drive BMW; new car gets radical styling, a three-cylinder engine and a sub-£23k price

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 BMW 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.

The interior aims to provide more flexibility than traditional BMWs because of the space-saving potential of the transverse engine layout. The front seats are at roughly the same height as those in the X1 but they are more upright to free-up space behind them.

Boot capacity for the initial standard-wheelbase model is 468 litres, rising to 1510 litres when the rear seats, which split 40:20:40, are folded down. 

Initially, the 2-series Active Tourer will have a three-pot direct-injection petrol and a four-cylinder common-rail diesel engine that are both shared with the new Mini. Further engines, including a four-cylinder petrol and three-cylinder diesels, are planned from early 2015.

Front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox will be standard, with an eight-speed auto optional. Some variants will get four-wheel drive.

Kicking off proceedings is the 218i Active Tourer, which gets a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit with 134bhp and 162lb ft of torque. It will be joined at launch by the 218d, which has a 2.0-litre four-pot turbodiesel with 148bhp, 243lb ft and combined economy of 68.9mpg.


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Shortly after launch, the 225i will become the range-topper. It gets a turbo 2.0-litre four-pot with 227bhp and 258lb ft. It covers 0-62mph in 6.8sec.

By this time next year, buyers will also be able to choose between additional front-wheel-drive 220i, 216d and 220d models as well as four-wheel-drive 225i xDrive and 220d xDrive variants.

The lightest of the launch models is the 218i Active Tourer, at 1320kg – 75kg less than the lightest UK-spec B-class.

Underpinning the 2-series Active Tourer is a predominantly aluminium chassis with MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link rear arrangement. BMW says that this makes it “the most dynamic front-wheel-drive model in its segment, with agile and sporting characteristics”.

Alongside the standard suspension, BMW also plans to offer an M-Sport set-up with a 10mm-lower ride height and firmer settings. 

Read more Geneva motor show news. 

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spqr 4 March 2014

BMW Born 7 March 1917. Died 4 March 2014 R.I.P.

This is the nail in the coffin of BMW as a manufacturer of sporting cars for well-heeled enthusiasts. As stated on another thread the stupidity of this vehicle is that unless it drives rings around a Golf GTi there was no point developing it as an in-house platform. True the "Unter Klasse" (or under class (that tells you all you need to know about what BMW think of thse buying this thing)) platform is shared with MINI but if it does not scale up well BMW could have saved a bundle by just buying in a Toyota platform. This is after all what Audi do with VW platforms. Like Audi BMW could have then concentrated on a class leading interior instead of their usual mediocre ones. Finally calling it a 2 Series is even more idiotic as it is clearly not a coupe or convertible version of a 1 Series as apparently all even numbered Series are supposed to be coupe or convertible versions of odd numbered Series saloons. It is a van with windows. As BMW own the rights to a lot of old British Leyland names they should have used one of them like Triumph or Riley etc. I was comtemplating a new M235i next year. Not now, I do not want to have a car that could be mistaken for a van. After 20 years and 10 BMWs this is why I will not be having another. It proves once and for all that some people will pay a premium for rubbish if it has the right badge on it.
John O'Groats 29 March 2014

Escape that foul bubble of air you are encased in

What absolute tripe - the last thing BMW need is an arrogant goober buying iits products.
Carmad3 4 March 2014

Scenic views

Looks like the original Renault Scenic to me
fadyady 28 February 2014

Ingolstadt's dilemma

Since VW subsidiaries Audi and Porsche must copy every niche that BMW fills, I am inclined to think that somewhere in Germany board members are mulling the pros and cons of MPVs. I'm sure the same have already passed Coupe-SUVs to rival the X6 and X4.
KiwiRob 4 March 2014

fadyady wrote:Since VW

fadyady wrote:

Since VW subsidiaries Audi and Porsche must copy every niche that BMW fills, I am inclined to think that somewhere in Germany board members are mulling the pros and cons of MPVs. I'm sure the same have already passed Coupe-SUVs to rival the X6 and X4.

Audi already make a FWD hatchback, it's called the A3, they make an even smaller one called the A1, me thinks it's actually BMW doing the copying here, namely a copy of the Mercedes B class.