Dear lord…where is the automotive world going to; at first, we had BMW SUVs and now, we get a front-wheel drive small minivan from the makers of the M3! If you must know, we have to assume the answer to that question is that it’s heading where the market and its shareholders point it to go.
For what it’s worth, while we are surprised to learn that BMW opted to use the 2-Series Active Tourer designation instead of the 1-Series Gran Turismo moniker (we wonder if they’re planning to apply it on a different model…), the rest of what you see and here was no secret, as the Munich brand had prepared us for its MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle or European lingo for minivan) with the 2012 Active Tourer Concept.
BMW’s iteration of a lux-badged…Opel Meriva has seating for five passengers, though, a longer version with two additional seats, most likely for minors only, is in the cards and has been spied on the road.
The Active Tourer is a compact sized model measuring 4,342mm (170.2 inches) long, 1,800mm (70.9 inches) wide and 1,555mm (61.2 inches) in height, with a wheelbase of 2,670mm (105.1 inches). Its footprint is similar to Germany’s other premium small MPV, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class.
Under the sheetmetal, you’ll find the BMW Group’s new modular platform architecture for front-wheel drive-based models, which was first introduced on the third generation Mini hatchback, and will eventually form the base for more vehicles, including the next BMW X1 crossover.
Motivation is provided by the BMW Group’s new family of turbocharged three- and four-cylinder engines. When it goes on sale in Europe (we still do not know if it will come to North America), there will be three available powerplants.
The range will kick off with a 136PS (134hp) 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbo petrol for the 218i that returns a combined fuel consumption of 4.9l/100km (48mpg US / 57.7 mpg UK).
Next up is the 218d with a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel that musters 150PS (148hp) and 330 Nm (243 lb-ft), giving a combined cycle economy of 4.1l/100km (57.4 mpg US / 68.9 mpg UK), while completing the 0-100km/h (62mph) sprint in 8.9 seconds and maxing out at 205km/h (127mph).
Sitting at the top is the 225i with a 2.0-liter turbo’d gasoline inline-four pushing out a VW Golf GTI-matching 231PS (228hp) that dashes to 100km/h (62mph) in 6.8 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 235km/h (146mph). This model has a combined fuel economy of 6.0l/100km (39.2 mpg US / 47.1 mpg UK).
More engine options as well as BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system (on certain models) are to be offered within a year of launch.
Featuring a predominantly aluminum chassis with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link suspension at the rear, the Bavarians state that the 2-Series Active Tourer will be the “BMW among front-wheel drive cars”.
And if that didn’t make you shiver and melt at the same time, maybe this statement will: “the harmoniously proportioned Active Tourer oozes sportiness from every angle”. Yes, they said it…
Leaving the goggle-eyed exterior and moving onto the cabin, the Active Tourer shares a similar dashboard layout to the 1-Series hatchbacks and 2-Series Coupes, but adds more space for passengers, their luggage (from 468 to 1,510 liters with the seats down) and their personal belongings, along with more practicality, such as the independently adjustable rear seats.
If you’re wondering, there will be an M Sport package (from November) that will include an aerodynamics kit, sports suspension, 17-inch wheels, sports leather steering wheel and specially upholstered sports seats. Besides the standard trim, BMW will also offer the self-explanatory Sport Line and Luxury Line trim grades.
BMW will hold the world premiere of the new 2-Series Active Tourer at the Geneva motor show in March.
By John Halas