The Active Tourer’s spec sheet leaves it a bit to do in this section. People who buy extra-practical hatchbacks, be they MPVs or compact estates, necessarily value the space that they provide. So they may be initially disappointed that this new BMW offers less outright boot space – seats up and down – than both a Volkswagen Golf SV and a B-Class.
Living with this car, we suspect, would be less likely to disappoint those customers – for several reasons. Firstly, the available space is accessible, flexible and pretty plentiful in isolation. Open any of the passenger doors or the boot and you’ll find it hard to sniff at what’s afforded.
There’s good headroom in both rows – about an inch less of it in the back than in a B-Class – and it matches the Mercedes on rear legroom thanks to deep front footwells. Entry and exit are easy because of the high-set seats and wide doors.
The back seats slide fore and aft by about 150mm, as well as reclining and tumble-folding into the floor to make an almost flat load bay. That last trick can be performed from the boot opening, via remote release switches just inside the rear hatch.
A folding front passenger seatback helps to accommodate extra-long loads as an optional extra. These are all pretty common modern MPV features, but together they make this a very practical family car.
For most testers, though, it wasn’t practicality that they found most convincing about the 2 Series’ cabin but classy material quality. Even without the chrome finishers of the Luxury-spec versions this is a plush, tactile, expensive-feeling interior with a modern-looking sculpted fascia, ‘floating’ control consoles, smooth leathers, soft plastics and plenty of generous storage areas. In that respect, it gives a Golf SV much more trouble than a 1 Series gives a normal five-door Golf.
Four trim levels are offered: SE, Sport, Luxury and M Sport. The Active Tourer’s basic SE trim comes with BMW's iDrive infotainment system complete with a 6.5in screen, DAB radio, sat nav, Bluetooth and USB interfaces all as standard, while there is also the inclusion of dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, automatic tailgate, wipers and lights, and forward vehicle collision warning.
Upgrade to the Sport trim and you benefit from 17in alloys, sports seats in the front and interior LED lighting, while the Luxury embellished models get numerous chrome details. The range-topping M Sport Active Tourers get numerous M designed fitments, including 18in alloys, sports suspension, aggressive bodykit, interior and exterior badging, and a Dakota leather upholstery.