BMW is well known for its premium saloons and luxury SUVs, but one thing you might not expect from this German carmaker is an MPV.
However, its 2 Series Active Tourer has proven a big hit for the firm since its launch in 2014, clocking up 430,000 sales since then, and being key to attracting new buyers to the German brand.
The MPV market is almost non-existent though now, with many mainstream car firms axing models in this segment. Despite this, BMW is back with an all-new generation that aims to continue its popularity. Using the same front-wheel-drive layout and platform as the brand’s latest 1 Series, the new car gets a far bolder look inspired by the new flagship iX SUV, along with a greater focus on interior technology. But is it really worth considering over a more conventional crossover? Let’s take a look.
BMW offers a range of powertrain options on the 2 Series Active Tourer, including petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid. Many of the engines on offer are also new, and include mild-hybrid technology too. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is also standard across the range.
Kicking off the line-up is the 220i, which is a 154bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine, followed by the car we’re trying here – the new 223i. Using a 2.0-litre petrol engine, it puts out 215bhp and 360Nm of torque, while is aided by its mild-hybrid system that offers improved efficiency and throttle response. It’s able to reach 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds and carry onto a top speed of 150mph. At the same time it’s also quite efficient, returning up to 47.1mpg with CO2 emissions ranging between 137 and 149g/km.
Elsewhere, BMW offers a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel (badged 218d) which is ideal for those doing plenty of miles, while later in 2022 will see the introduction of the 230e and 225e plug-in hybrids, offering an electric range of up to 49 miles, and up to an impressive 322bhp.
Ride and handling
Our test 223i in M Sport trim is a superb option if you’re looking for a practical car that can also be enjoyable to drive. Tested back-to-back with the 220i, it offers added composure, while there’s very little body roll through the corners either.
It really handles far better than any MPV really should, while this 2.0-litre petrol engine even sounds quite good when pushed a bit harder. At the same time, there’s not too much wind or road noise, making it ideal for motorway trips. The only trade-off is that it’s not the most comfortable of rides, so a standard Sport or Luxury version could make more sense.
The 2 Series Active Tourer was designed first and foremost with practicality in mind, and with its relatively high roofline, there’s certainly no shortage of room inside. Legroom is excellent too, while the rear seats are on rails, meaning you can slide them forward or backwards, while they individually fold too.
The boot also offers 415 litres of space, which might not sound a huge amount, but it’s a very practical shape, while folding the rear seats increases the roof on offer to 1,370 litres. Plenty of storage compartments dotted around the cabin also adds to the versatility.
BMW is offering three trim levels on the 2 Series Active Tourer, with the model benefitting from the same 10.25-inch infotainment system as the brand’s latest electric models – really helping it to give a modern feel. Like the iX and i4, the system sees the removal of BMW’s well-known rotary controller – a feature that many might still wish remained there.
Entry-level Sport options still come with plenty of equipment, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and a reversing camera, while Luxury versions bring full leather upholstery and heated front seats. At the top of the range, the M Sport brings adaptive LED headlights, sports suspension, keyless entry and wireless smartphone charging.
Prices for the 2 Series Active Tourer have unsurprisingly increased, with prices starting from £30,265 for the 220i, £31,820 for the 220d and £32,715 for the 223i.
As you climb up the trim levels and choose your optional extras, the price of this BMW will quickly increase though.
Among BMW’s range of (admittedly excellent) saloons and SUVs, the 2 Series Active Tourer makes a refreshing change. Standing out with its versatile cabin, it continues to offer the brand’s trademark sporty driving experience and upmarket interior.
As an alternative to an SUV, it’s a very appealing option, and combined with a great mix of engines – which will only improve when the plug-in hybrid arrives – it ticks plenty of boxes for buyers.Enquire on a new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer