The day has come where we report BMW ’s move into building front-wheel-drive cars. It may sound like an April-fools joke, but alas, the 2 Series Active Tourer will be a reality rolling down the street in 2015. The overriding issue, at least in the eyes of BMW purists, is the threat to BMW’s brand identity and exclusivity as the Bavarian company moves towards higher-volume, lower-cost city cars.
Rather than sticking our heads in the sand, let’s take a look at what BMW is set to debut at the Geneva Auto Show on March 4th.
The 2 Series Active Tourer departs from the standard BMW mold with an upright, high-roofed design with passenger comfort, easy of ingress/egress, and cargo capacity as key features. The modular seating for five makes for a handy city runabout with 40/20/40 folding rear seats and a generous rear cargo area. Even the front passenger seat folds flat for hauling long objects. Outward visibility should be quite excellent, making it a competent navigator of congested city streets.
Power comes from three engine options — at least at launch and in Euro-spec form — including a 1.5-liter three-cylinder, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and a 2.0-liter diesel; all of which are turbocharged. Power is sent through either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. An xDrive model will come to market during the first year, but after the initial launch.
Exterior design detailing and interior appointments stay true to BMW form with highly recognizable features only found on BMWs. While it may be styled like a BMW, its profile is a huge departure; though the most important factor will remain unanswered until we’re behind the wheel: does it drive like a BMW?
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
As painful as it may be to say, the 2 Series AT is reminiscent of the Ford C-Max . From the high roof that traces the same quasi-coupe slope and the rear lift gate to the door handles perched on the rising belt line and the short front overhang, the BMW just looks very…non-BMW-ish. However, the Bavarians have added enough BMW flair to squash any further association with the C-Max or any other Spec-B car.
Quad LED headlights flank the signature kidney bean grille with the blue and white BMW roundel badge perched above leaving strong accent lines running the length of the hood in its wake. The triple-slotted lower air dam with integrated fog lights really move the 2 Series’ looks up-market.
Around to the side, a strong accent line just above the bottom door sills gives the 2 a planted look while the rising belt line lends an aire of rapid movement to the car. The shark fin antenna, spoiler over the rear window, and dual chrome-tipped exhausts pipes further the speedier look about the car.
2014 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer - Exterior Dimensions
|Length||4342 mm (170.94 inches)|
|Width||1800 mm (70.86 inches)|
|Height||1555 mm (61.22 inches)|
|Wheelbase||2670 mm (105.11 inches)|
|Track, front/rear||1561/1562 (61.45/61.49 inches)|
The interior is where the 2-Series Active Tourer really shines. BMW seems to have done its homework on what customers look for in this vehicle segment. Generous cargo room abounds behind the rear bench, and even more is accessible when the 40/20/40 rear seatbacks are folded flat.
Up front, the center console, dashboard, and instrument cluster are unmistakably BMW. Materials, fit and finish, and amenities appear to be on par with more expensive models, like the 3 Series . The iPad-like navigation screen is perched atop the center stack and will be a welcome companion while trekking through unfamiliar urban environments. An electronic emergency brake lever is standard fair as well as the iDrive knob sitting next to the leather-booted shifter. BMW’s smart key and push-button starting is present along with plenty of redundant steering wheel controls. A heads-up display is also available.
The 2 Series Active Tourer will initially be available with three engine choices. Starting out in the 218i, a 1.5-liter turbocharged in-line-three generating 136 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. BMW listed the 0-to-62 mph time at 9.3 seconds. A six-speed manual transmission is standard issue here. Further up the list is the 225i fitted with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four making a decent 231 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It only comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, however. Rounding out the lineup is 218d powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel making 150 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque.
Keep in mind, however, the 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter turbodiesel are not confirmed for the U.S.-bound 2 Series cars. We’ll have to wait on whether either of those engines will make their way stateside. Until then, the 2.0-liter gasoline engine inside the 225i will be the primary powerplant.
2014 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer - Drivetrain Specifications
|Config./No. of cyls./valves||in-line/3/4||in-line/4/4||in-line/4/4|
|Engine technology||BMW TwinPower Turbo technology with twin-scroll turbocharging, High Precision Direct Petrol Injection||BMW TwinPower Turbo technology with variablegeometry turbocharger, common rail direct injection||BMW TwinPower Turbo technology with variablegeometry turbocharger, common rail direct injection|
|Effective capacity cc||1499||1998||1995|
|Compression ratio :1||11.0||10.2||16.5|
|Fuel||min RON 91||min RON 91||Diesel|
|Max. output kW/hp||100/136||170/231||110/150|
|Max torque Nm||220||350||330|
|Top speed km/h||200 (124 mph)||235 (146 mph)||205 (127 mph)|
|0–100 km/h sec (62 mph)||9.3||6.8||8.9|
The suspension is a critical part of the 2 Series’ makeup. It, along with how well the front-wheel-drive setup works, will likely be a huge factor in how well the little Bimmer sells here in the states.
Up front lies a single-jointed spring strut axle while a mulit-link setup is at home out back. BMW says the 2 Series has undergone plenty of fine-tuning in order to keep the BMW driving characteristics intact. An electromechanical steering system is said to provide generous feedback while eliminating torque steer.
Interestingly enough, BMW will offer an M Sport Line of the 2-Series. An aero package and sport suspension with optional 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels, all complete with the standard M badging, give the 2 a more track-worthy look. Whether it lives up the name has yet to be seen.
BMW has not released any information concerning pricing at this point. We figure it will be marketed as a premium option to other Spec-B cars and carry a higher price tag to accompany it. BMW will announce pricing much closer to the 2 Series’ launch, so check back with TopSpeed for the developing news.
We mentioned it enough times in the article that we couldn’t neglect the C-Max in the competitors’ list. The C-Max is Ford ’s first and only hybrid-only powertrain vehicle. It comes in two different powertrain flavors, the standard Hybrid model and the Energi Plug-in Hybrid, the latter of which is an electric-only vehicle.
Sharing the same size platform as the 2 Series, the C-Max does a good job of lugging cargo around town. It’s high seating position lends itself to great outward visibility for inner-city driving.
Prices for the C-Max start at $28,455 for the Hybrid version and $32,920 for the Energi Plug-in Hybrid.
Gallery Ford C-Max
The Fiat 500L (or Large) is a European alternative to the 2-Series with three engine choices available: the 1.4-liter I-4 gasser shared with the standard 500, the TwinAir version, along with a 1.3-liter turbodiesel. Seating and cargo capacities are much the same with the other two cars mentioned here, but styling is all its own. The Fiat brings its Italian flair to the table, although its look tends to be described as polarizing.
Prices start at just $19,195 and rise to just over $25,000.
Gallery Fiat 500L
It’s rather interesting to see BMW move in this direction. Two schools of thoughts seems to emerge: One - higher-volume cars will devalue the brand’s prestige and exclusivity, making the classics, the 3,5,7 Series cars less desirable merely because of their relation to lesser, more "pedestrian" cars. Or Two - The higher-volume cars will attract new owners to the brand who might develop life-long loyalties, while providing a nice, fat profit margin to satisfy the bean-counters, allowing them to approve more exotic, high-performance, low-volume cars that make the headlines.
Only time will tell.
- Diverse line of powertrains
- A gas-powered city dweller with high-class
- Loads of cargo room
- U.S.-spec versions only getting one engine so far
- Could cheapen the BMW image
- Sorta looks like a Ford C-Max
Gallery BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
The arrival of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (fuel consumption combined: 6.0–4.1 litres per 100 km [47–68.9 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions: 139–109 g/km)* sees BMW expand its portfolio into another new model segment. The newcomer in the premium compact class skilfully blends comfort and functionality of space with the trademark BMW strengths of dynamism, style and elegance. Following on from the Coupe as the second member of the new BMW 2 Series range, the harmoniously proportioned Active Tourer oozes sportiness from every angle. Measuring just 4,342 millimetres long, 1,800 millimetres wide and 1,555 millimetres in height, it combines compact dimensions on the outside with a strikingly spacious feel on the inside, making it perfectly suited to cope with the growing challenges of urban mobility.
New turbocharged engines with three and four cylinders, a comprehensive package of BMW EfficientDynamics measures and the extensive connectivity provided by BMW ConnectedDrive are all formative elements in a driving experience that centres on sporty performance and exemplary efficiency.
Dynamism und functionality of space brought together in classic BMW fashion.
In order to achieve a particularly high level of versatility and functionality in the premium compact class, special design concepts are needed. BMW has therefore opted for a sophisticated front-wheel-drive system for the 2 Series Active Tourer that is able to deliver the degree of driver engagement expected of the brand’s models. Together with the long wheelbase of 2,670 millimetres and raised roofline, this configuration enables the room inside to be maximised, resulting in an unprecedented feeling of spaciousness. Driver and front passenger enjoy a far higher seating position than in a sedan, which affords a commanding all-round view at the same time as making it easier to get in and out. The wealth of storage facilities and the option of a fold-flat passenger seat backrest are just two examples of the interior’s impressive flexibility and cleverly devised layout. The cabin has a light and spacious feel to it, with all surfaces horizontally structured in a layered look. There is also the option of a large panoramic roof that lets light flood into the interior. The brand identity with its overriding sense of dynamism is clearly present in the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer too. It shines through in trademark features such as the slightly forward-slanting BMW kidney grille at the front end flanked by the distinctive twin circular headlights. The short front overhang in particular is highly unusual for a front-wheel-drive car, and is just as much a classic BMW styling cue as the short overhang at the rear, the long wheelbase, the Hofmeister kink in the rear side windows and the L-shaped rear lights. Crisp contours and an eye-catching swage line at the sides give added impact to the wheel arches and inject the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer with forward thrust even when stationary. Moving inside, the controls for the radio, air conditioning and air vents are angled towards the driver in another unmistakable BMW design trait.
Maximum versatility and functionality.
The versatile luggage compartment, whose capacity can be enlarged from 468 to 1,510 litres, and the 40:20:40 split-folding rear backrest fitted as standard exemplify this model’s excellent everyday practicality. Flexibility is further enhanced by a sliding rear seat, allowing either kneeroom or luggage space to be increased as required. One particularly smart touch is the foldable boot floor that conceals a storage compartment with a handy multifunction tray. The rear backrest can be adjusted to offer either added comfort for the three rear seats or extra luggage space. Access to the luggage compartment couldn’t be easier thanks to the large, broad, wide-opening tailgate, which can furthermore be optionally specified with pushbutton automatic opening and closing or the Smart Opener function for supreme ease of operation with a quick flick of the foot.
Latest-generation engines running on three or four cylinders.
The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is being launched with a choice of three powerful, light and fuel-efficient three and four-cylinder drive units that form part of a new generation of engines. They are installed transversely and boast a compact design along with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, at the same time as complying with the EU6 emissions standard.
The new three-cylinder petrol unit stands out for its exceptional efficiency and great performance abilities. This cutting-edge powerplant is receiving its premiere in a model from the BMW core brand in the guise of the BMW 218i Active Tourer (fuel consumption urban/extra-urban/combined: 6.1/4.2/4.9 l/100 km [46.3/67.2/57.6 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 115 g/km)* with a six-speed manual gearbox. The engine has a displacement of 1.5 litres, generates 100 kW/136 hp and excels with its spontaneous throttle response, hearty appetite for revs and high pulling power. The design of three-cylinder engines means they are not subject to first and second-order inertia forces, while the balancer shaft included on the BMW unit ensures that it operates even more smoothly over the entire rev range.
Topping the bill at market launch is the BMW 225i Active Tourer (fuel consumption urban/extra-urban/combined: 7.6/5.0/6.0 l/100 km [37.1/56.5/47 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 139 g/km)*. With an output of 170 kW/231 hp, a time of 6.8 seconds* for the 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) dash and a top speed of 235 km/h* (146 mph), the model’s four-cylinder engine raises the bar for dynamic performance in its class.
Hard at work under the bonnet of the BMW 218d Active Tourer (fuel consumption urban/extra-urban/combined: 5.0/3.6/4.1 l/100 km [56.5/78.4/68.9 mpg imp]; CO2 emissions combined: 109 g/km)* is a four-cylinder diesel engine. A member of the same new engine family as its two petrol counterparts, it delivers 110 kW/150 hp while mustering up a peak torque of 330 Nm (243 lb-ft). This powerpack serves to reaffirm the exceptionally dynamic performance qualities of diesel engines from BMW, propelling the BMW 218d Active Tourer from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.9 seconds* and on to a top speed of 205 km/h (127 mph)*.
The BMW among front-wheel-drive cars.
Like all BMW models, the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer makes its mark with great driving dynamics and the sort of driving experience the brand is renowned for. The newly developed chassis, comprising a single-joint spring strut axle at the front and a multi-link rear axle, combines agility and directional precision with excellent handling stability and suspension comfort. The front drive axle in the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer has undergone extensive fine-tuning, ensuring that it endows the car with optimum driving dynamics and wonderfully precise steering feedback. The electromechanical steering and the system’s functional arrangement combine to produce a driving sensation that is devoid of interfering torque steer.
The intelligent use of high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile multi-phase steels makes a decisive contribution to safety standards in the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, while also helping to keep the vehicle’s weight down. Apart from being a crucial factor in the model’s exceptional driving dynamics, this lightweight engineering is just one among many BMW EfficientDynamics technology elements. These also include the Auto Start Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration, Optimum Gearshift Indicator, on-demand operation of ancillary units and the integral Air Curtain, which uses two vertical air inlets in the front bumper to direct the airstream along the front wheels.
M Sport package for maximum presence.
Besides the standard trim, two further equipment lines both allow owners to put an individual slant on the interior and exterior. The Sport Line places the emphasis on the dynamic side, while the Luxury Line is all about elegance and exclusiveness. The M Sport package that will be available from November opens up even greater scope for customisation. An M Aerodynamics package, M Sport suspension and 17 or 18-inch M light-alloy wheels on the outside are complemented by an M leather steering wheel and specially upholstered sports seats in the interior to maximise the on-road presence of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. The range will be extended from late autumn to include variants equipped with the xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system.
High degree of connectivity for enhanced safety and comfort.
Standards of safety and comfort aboard the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer are boosted by the assistance systems and various infotainment features that are collectively known as BMW ConnectedDrive. Take, for instance, the Traffic Jam Assistant or the camera-based cruise control system with Stop & Go function, which both work using a mono camera. They assist with accelerating and braking (longitudinal guidance) as well as steering (lateral guidance with the Traffic Jam Assistant), at the same time as relieving the driver of monotonous tasks, such as when driving in a queue of traffic on the motorway or in heavy city-centre traffic.
BMW ConnectedDrive Services & Apps bring smartphone applications into the vehicle and allow innovative features like the Concierge Service or Real Time Traffic Information to be added. These can also be booked at a later date and, in many cases, for flexible periods of time. In this way, the functionality of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer can be vastly enhanced and updated by the owner at any time.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is the first model in the premium compact class to be made available with a Head-Up Display, which projects all relevant driving information into the driver’s field of vision in full colour. Instead of being displayed on the windscreen itself, the information is shown on a screen that extends out between the steering wheel and windscreen. This enables drivers to view all key information without having to divert their attention from the road.