John Floyd
Motorsport columnist
3 minute read
9 Feb 2015
2:00 pm

BMW gets active with new 2 Series Tourer

John Floyd

The compact segment is an area in which BMW is targeting 40% growth over the next five years, following the continued success of the 1 Series, the X1 and the new 2 Series

The compact MPV is just such an area, because after the loss of the Renault Scenic and Toyota Verso to the SA market, smaller MPV’s are a bit thin on the ground. With many families downsizing their introductory MPV, but wanting a premium edge, it seems that BMW’s 2 Series Active Tourer might just fit the bill.

Targeting those who enjoy an active lifestyle, a high seating position, generous space and excellent comfort levels – their words not mine – the new offering from the Bavarian manufacturer was released last week in the Southern Cape.

Unlike its predecessor, the 2 Series Coupe, the new Active Tourer is based on the underpinnings of the company’s other brand, Mini. The floor pan, suspension and steering were derived from the recently released Mini 5-door, as was the front wheel drive technology and power trains.

Front wheel drive permits the optimal configuration for a compact vehicle offering maximum passenger space in a small package.

Climb in and it is apparent that this has worked well, with lots of leg and headroom for all occupants along with a reasonably generous cargo space. The seating position is higher than in both the 1 Series and X1, which is sure to please many who favour the so-called command position.

The images display the styling and the traditional BMW elements are well represented in the new kid on the block, but optional packages will of course result in some cosmetic changes. The package options for the Active Tourer are Standard, Sport Line, Luxury Line and the M Sport Package.

Petrol engines and transmissions that will be available are the 1.5 litre three cylinder, with either a six-speed manual or six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission, and a 2 litre four-cylinder engine with either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission.

Diesel will be a 2 litre four cylinder with the same transmission options as its same capacity petrol family.

All employ BMW TwinPower Turbo technology.

As with most offerings from German manufacturers the options list is extensive for all derivatives and just too long to detail here.

At launch just two models were available, the three cylinder 218i and the range topping 225i, and were well equipped with goodies from those option lists. Both models were equipped with the Steptronic automatic transmissions, but the 225i is only offered with the eight speed Steptronic.

My experience with the 218i was a curious one. When one considers that this specific car was fitted with most of the available options including Servotronic steering I was surprised to find that it was not the most directionally stable car in a straight line. It felt as if the front wheels were tracking, a very unpleasant sensation. There was a healthy wind blowing so my colleague and I stopped the car to ascertain just how strong it was. On that particular stretch of road virtually no wind was felt, so we changed drivers to ensure that it was not just a driver quirk. It wasn’t.

The 1498cc three cylinder petrol engine, the same engine powering the Mini Cooper, which produces 100kW at 4 400r/min and 220Nm of torque between 1 250 and 4 300r/min, works surprisingly well in this configuration. Be prepared to use lots of revs and the car responds well with the exciting sound that only a triple can produce. Fuel consumption is claimed at 5.1l/100km with emissions at 118g/km in manual transmission guise.

On the other hand the 225i was a very different vehicle – in fact this one really felt like a BMW, despite being a front wheel drive. This time the Servotronic steering system weighted up perfectly and showed no signs of the vagueness that I had experienced with the smaller sibling. In fact it was a totally different vehicle.

The four cylinder 1998cc engine delivers 170kW at 5000r/min and a healthy 350Nm of torque at 1250r/min, which makes for a very comfortable family cruiser with the capability of pushing on in a very lively manner, should you so wish. Consumption is claimed at 5.9 l/100km with 138g/km of CO2 emissions.