Road test with Mark Slack: BMW 2-Series Active Tourer – it’s a BMW but not as we know it!

Road test with Mark Slack: BMW 2-Series Active Tourer - it’s a BMW but not as we know it!

Road test with Mark Slack: BMW 2-Series Active Tourer - it’s a BMW but not as we know it! Image - BMW

It’s a BMW but not as we know it! The premium German car maker is known for its sporting saloons and tourers, sleek sports cars and muscular SUVs. Which makes the 2-Series Active Tourer seem a little out of place within the range. However, it’s aimed at buyers who would perhaps not normally consider BMW. It is a cross between a compact MPV (there’s a term you don’t hear nowadays) and spacious hatchback.

Offered in petrol, diesel or plug-in and mild hybrid form, prices start from €36,631/£31,285 and encompasses three trim levels. The lead-in model comes with LED lights, automatic tailgate, navigation, automatic air conditioning, cruise control and parking assistant. Power comes from 1.5 and 2.0-litre petrol engines and a 2.0-litre diesel. To be honest, the exterior of the 2-Series Active Tourer looks fairly ordinary, take a seat inside though and things take a surprising turn. It is very similar to the new iX interior and looks very smart and very premium. It’s spacious and practical thanks to sliding rear seats, good headroom and a layout that just feels very airy.

Although the inevitable march of cockpit digitisation has removed most buttons and switches BMW’s system is one of the more intuitive, and easy to use with clear graphics and what buttons and switches remain operate with a crisp positivity lacking in cheaper cars.

On the road my Luxury trim 220i weighed in at €46,225/£39,479 but that included the test car’s €8k/£7k of options. Upgrades ranged from a HarmanKardon surround sound system to a panoramic opening glass roof. Standard fare is far from minimal with heated sports seats, wireless charging, climate, smartphone integration, head-up display, auto lights and dimming mirrors.

The 1.5-litre, turbocharged, 3-cylinder petrol engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox and benefits from mild-hybrid technology. It’s an incredibly smooth drive and unlike so many 3-cylinder units there’s none of the usual engine thrum unless you really push the revs. With 115kW/156 hp the benchmark 100 kmh/62 mph is reached in 8.1 seconds, so while not the fastest machine it’s more than capable of picking up its feet when required.

It provides a genuinely practical family vehicle that carries the famous BMW roundel, and although it may not be the most affordable choice it feels and drives very premium.  It may be an old adage but you get what you pay for in all things, and cars are no exception.

Facts at a Glance

  • Model: BMW 220i Active Tourer Luxury
  • Engine: 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder, turbocharged petrol with mild hybrid and developing 115 kW (156 hp)
  • Gears: 7-speed automatic
  • Price: €46,225 (£39,479)
  • Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph) 8.1 seconds/Maximum Speed 221 km/h (137 mph)
  • Economy: 5.9 l/100km (47 mpg) WLTP
  • Emissions: 133g/km WLTP

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.