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
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.
That’s not to say that BMW hasn’t paid attention to the driving experience. The automatic gearbox is smoother and more responsive than before, while the engine mounts have been redesigned to reduce vibration. With less road noise getting into the cabin than in the Mercedes B-Class, the 2 Series Active Tourer is a hushed and relaxing car for long journeys.
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 petrol 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.
The power on offer in the 223i is largely unnecessary, but you may find that the 223i is slightly smoother than the 220i. However, given the price jump to the bigger engine, we’d stick with the 220i and use the money saved for a nice holiday.
When it was launched, the 2 Series Active Tourer catered for diesel buyers with a 218d version, which had a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. It managed 0-62mph in a respectable 8.8 seconds, and offered the best fuel economy out of the standard petrol and diesel engines, but even so, it was dropped from the range in 2023.
Following the petrols and diesel, two plug-in hybrid powertrains arrived later to bolster the line-up. Both the 225e and 230e have four-wheel drive (the rest of the engines are front-wheel drive), and they get 242bhp and 322bhp, respectively. Even though they’re heavy with the added weight of the batteries, both are quick off the line. The 225e hits 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds - about the same as a Ford Fiesta ST hot hatchback - while the 230e does the same sprint in 5.5 seconds, which is absurdly quick for a family minibus.