BMW 2 Series Active Tourer MPV - Engines, drive & performance

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer struggles to live up to the badge, but the engines are powerful

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Because the 2 Series Active Tourer doesn’t sell in quite the same numbers as the BMW 1 Series, there are fewer engines to choose in the MPV. The available engines make the 2 Series seem a little overpowered on paper, but it should also mean that no version feels sluggish. All versions get an automatic gearbox.

M Sport cars get sporty lowered suspension, and there’s no option to swap it for the standard setup you get on Sport and Luxury versions. This can be a little firm at times, so it’s worth taking a test-drive to make sure that you don’t find it uncomfortable.

The 2 Series Active Tourer has a very different brief to something like the BMW 4 Series, or even the 1 Series, because it puts practicality ahead of driving thrills. This is reflected in the way it drives, with super-light steering that’s useful for parking and manoeuvring but short of feel on faster roads. Sport mode adds weight to the steering, but not to the same effect as sportier models.

Underpinning the 2 Series is a new platform, called FAAR. This architecture is capable of underpinning fully electric models, but for now the car is offered with mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid engines.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer petrol engines

The cheapest 220i petrol engine is likely to make up the highest proportion of sales. It’s a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine with mild-hybrid technology to reduce emissions, and produces 168bhp. That’s plenty for a car like this, and results in a brisk 0-62mph time of 8.1 seconds. Used in a range of cars including the MINI and the BMW X1, this engine gives a refined drive and a great mix of efficiency and performance. 

Above it is a new 2.0-litre 223i version, with power boosted to 215bhp. A second is chalked off the acceleration time, and it also includes the mild-hybrid assistance. The 48-volt hybrid system gives a small power boost, and also enables coasting with the engine turned off. It can predict when to collect lost energy, too.

Diesel engine

It’s almost strange to see new cars launched with diesel engines these days, but the 2 Series Active Tourer still caters to diesel buyers with a 218d version. It’s a pretty standard 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel – most rivals offer a similar unit – and manages 0-62mph in a respectable 8.8 seconds. While it offers the best fuel economy out of the standard petrol and diesel engines, it won’t be the best choice if you’re going to be mainly driving around town.

Hybrid engines

Following the petrols and diesel, two plug-in hybrid engines will bolster the line-up. Both will have four-wheel drive (the rest of the engines are front-wheel drive), and they get 242bhp and 322bhp respectively. No figures are available yet, but the power on offer should allow the 2 Series Active Tourer to sprint off the line, even though they’ll be heavier with the added weight of the batteries.

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