The 2 Series Active Tourer succeeds where its key rival falters. Our top five pitches it against the volume-brand people-movers whose various standards it must exceed.

But the truth is that only the Mercedes-Benz B-Class really offers the combination of desirability and practicality that the Active Tourer seeks to emulate – and on performance, refinement, economy and balanced ride comfort and handling dynamism, the BMW beats the Mercedes resoundingly.

Powertrain and cabin ambience beat the SV, but it's not as roomy or expertly tuned

Munich’s new MPV has been executed very thoroughly. It has an excellent powertrain, a cabin of distinguishing versatility, quality and richness and a commendable driving experience, and with the addition of the seven-seater Gran Tourer as well only further strengthens its position.

The handling isn’t quite good enough to trump everything else in the class. The C-Max and Golf SV are both better drives in their own way. The SV also offers a superior blend of comfort, quality and cabin space, making it our class champ.

But for BMW's first effort at front drive, comfortably beating the B-Class must be the kind of qualified success for which BMW would happily settle.


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