BMW 2 Series Active Tourer First Look
Outside the Wheelhouse
All the greats experiment with something out of their wheelhouse at one point or another. KISS went disco at the end of the ‘70s; Michael Jordan tried baseball in the mid-‘90s, and now BMW is debuting at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show a front-drive car. The confusingly named BMW 2 Series Active Tourer -- likely arriving in the U.S. as a 2016 model -- will be Bimmer’s first-ever front-drive car when it goes on sale in Europe late this year, and hits the United States next year.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer’s bound to be a bit confusing to the average BMW customer when they walk into a dealership to lease another 3 Series. The car has almost nothing in common with the sleek and sexyBMW 2 Series coupe. Whereas the 2 Series coupe is a traditional rear-drive Bimmer two-door, the four-door 2 Series Active Tourer hatchback looks more like a BMW version of the Mazda5 minivan than anything else. True, it features traditional BMW styling cues such as the kidney grille, Hoffmeister kink, and dual circular headlights, but the snub-nosed 2 Series Active Tourer looks unlike anything else found in a BMW showroom, except for maybe the oddball i3 electric car.
There’s good reason for that – the 2 Series Active Tourer appears to have more in common with the new 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop than any other BMW. The 2 Series Active Tourer shares its platform with the Mini, as well as a few of its engines. The base 2 Series Active Tourer, the BMW 218i Active Tourer is powered by the 1.5-liter turbocharged I-3 in the new Mini, making 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, or 169 lb-ft in overboost for brief spurts. The 218i Active Tourer even shares its six-speed manual and automatic transmissions with the Mini. With the manual, the 218i can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 9.3 seconds, or 9.6 seconds when equipped with the automatic gearbox, and hit a top speed of 124 mph.
A step up the totem pole is the BMW 225i Active Tourer. The 225i uses a more powerful version of the new MINI Cooper S’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4. In the Bimmer, the turbo-4 churns out a stout 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Available with an eight-speed automatic, BMW says the 225i Active Tourer is capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds, and can top out at 146 mph.
While the first two engines in the 2 Series Active Tourer’s stable are sure-shots for the U.S.-spec 2 Series Active Tourer, the third engine may end up being for Europe only. The 218d Active Tourer gets a 2.0-liter turbodiesel I-4 making 148 hp and 243 lb-ft of twist. Like the 225i, the 218d has a standard six-speed manual, and an optional eight-speed slushbox. BMW says the 2 Series Active Tourer diesel nets an 8.9-second 0-62 mph time.
While the 2 Series Active Tourer launches with just three engines, BMW’s got a lot more planned for its new front-drive hatch. The German automaker expects to add another gas variant (220i), and two diesel variants (220d and 216d) to its European lineup. Also in the cards are xDrive all-wheel drive versions of the 220d and 225i Active Tourers. We wouldn’t be surprised to see all-wheel drive on the option list of the U.S.-spec 2 Series Active Tourer.
Those who’ve spent any time in modern BMWs will likely feel immediately at home in the new 2 Series Active Tourer. The Bimmer sports a driver-centric cabin with the center stack and large infotainment display canted toward driver, an iDrive controller, and an optional head-up display. Though shorter and stubbier than its Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class rivals, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer’s high greenhouse and large 105.1 inch wheelbase gives the hatch room for five passengers and plenty of cargo space. Taking a trick from the Honda Fit, the 2 Series Active Tourer’s 40/20/40 rear-seats are capable of sliding fore and aft, allowing the rear to be optimized for either passenger comfort or cargo space.
Not surprisingly for a modern BMW, the 2 Series Active Tourer will launch with three different trim “lines” when it goes on sale in Europe this year. The Sport Line finishes the 2 Series Active Tourer with black trim on the grille, “air curtains,” and on the exhaust tip. The Sport Line also gets unique 16- or 17-inch wheels. Inside, Sport Line models get black trim, and leather-trimmed sport seats. The Luxury Line essentially replaces all the black bits from the Sport Line with chrome. The range-topper is the 2 Series Active Tourer’s M Sport package. The M Sport pack includes an M Sport body kit, a blacked-out kidney grille, and an M-tuned sport suspension. The 2 Series Active Tourer M Sport rides on unique 17- or 18-inch wheels, and gets unique brake calipers to match the sporty new looks. Inside, the M Sport pack adds an M steering wheel, footrest, shift lever, and unique sport seats with blue trim.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer’s option sheet promises to be vast. Among the available options is the aforementioned head-up display, as well as a panoramic sunroof, and parking assist. Also available are active safety functions including a camera based cruise control system with the ability to bring the car to a stop and restart it again when traffic allows, plus forward collision and pedestrian collision warning systems. Europe also gets what BMW calls Traffic Jam Assistant, which essentially turns the 2 Series Active Tourer into an autonomous car. Under 25 mph, Traffic Jam Assistant will keep a set distance from the car in front, follow the lane markers through turns, and even bring the car to a complete stop when need be.
Though not officially confirmed for the U.S., expect the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer to roll into showrooms in 2015, potentially as a 2016 model.
|BMW 2 Series Active Tourer|
|BASE PRICE||$31,000 (MT est)|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD/AWD, 5 pass, 4-door hatchback|
|ENGINE||1.5L/134-hp/162-lb-ft turbo I-3; 2.0L/228-hp/258-lb-ft turbo I-4; 2.0L/148-hp/243-lb-ft turbodiesel I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||6-speed manual; 6-speed automatic; 8-speed automatic|
|CURB WEIGHT||3200 lb (MT est)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||170.9 x 70.8 x 61.2 in|
|0-62 MPH||6.8-9.6 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||N/A|
|ON SALE IN U.S.||2015|