The new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is the latest in the company's new model push and is its second dedicated front-wheel-drive model.
The new five-door model, which comes with seven seats as standard in the UK, starts at £24,175, which buys the 218i model in SE trim. The 220d xDrive model in M Sport trim costs £33,885.
As hinted in earlier scoop photographs, the 2 Series Gran Tourer shares its front-end styling with the 2 Series Active Tourer. Its silhouette differs dramatically from traditional rear-wheel-drive BMW models, with a short bonnet and a heavily angled windscreen giving it a distinctive cab-forward influence.
BMW marketing boss Ian Robertson said he expects the Gran Tourer to attract new customers to BMW: "We're very clear that these new products will do a very good job in bringing new customers to BMW. The Active Tourer customer base has been 60-65% new to the BMW brand so far, and we expect the Gran Tourer to build on that. It's absolutely clear that new products must bring new customers - we're not interesting in taking sales from other areas of our range."
At 455cm long, 180cm wide and 161cm high, the 2 Series Gran Tourer is a considerable 21.4cm longer and 5.3cm taller than the 2 Series Active Tourer, but exactly the same width. The majority of the extra length is concentrated within the wheelbase, which has grown by 11cm to 278cm to provide the new BMW with longer rear doors and a generous aperture to access the rear seats.
Inside, the 2 Series Gran Tourer uses the same dashboard and fittings as the 2 Series Active Tourer – alongside which it will be produced at BMW’s factory in Leipzig, Germany. The new MPV will come as standard with three rows of seats in the UK, although European customers will be able to elect to have a five-seat version that still benefits from the extra space over the Active Tourer.
The boot capacity is 645 litres with the rear-most seats down, rising to a copious 1905 litres when the second row of seats, which split and fold in a 40:20:40 configuration, are folded away.
By comparison, the 2 Series Active Tourer offers a respective 465 litres and 1510 litres. As in its smaller sibling, the second row of seats slide back and forth, allowing you to alter the amount of rear leg room at the expense of luggage space. However, unlike the Active Tourer, this is something that is offered as standard in the Gran Tourer.
The second row of seats can accommodate three universal child seats, while the third row is capable of taking two, taking the total number of child seats you can fit in the Gran Tourer up to six, including the front passenger seat.
The 2 Series Gran Tourer is the second BMW model to use the German car maker’s high-strength steel UKL platform. The contemporary structure adopts a transverse engine layout to offer buyers the choice between standard front-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive – although the latter is available only in combination with the top-of-the-line 187bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine for the time being.
The lightest of the launch models is the 1395kg 218i, with the 1565kg 220d xDrive's four-wheel-drive hardware making it the heaviest. It includes an electro-hydraulic multi-plate clutch that is used to apportion drive to each wheel depending on the amount of traction. The same set-up will be used by the upcoming second-generation X1, which is described as being closely related to the 2 Series Gran Tourer.