World Premier: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (The First Front Wheel Drive BMW)

The first front wheel drive BMW is finally here. Why should you, the MINI enthusiast care? Because this BMW, under all the metal, glass and composites lies the same chassis and drivetrain as the new MINI. In other words this is the BMW version of the F56 MINI. Or more specifically this is BMW’s version of the new F55 Four door and F54 Clubman in terms of a size comparison respectively.

Designed to answer to the needs of the urban dweller looking to size down but not reduce the technology or luxuries they’ve become accustom to, the 2 Series Active Tourer takes the brand down a new and contenious path for enthusiasts. For MINI fans it could also represent another alternative.


How will it drive? While we’ve driven it’s stablemate in the F56, we’ve been assured that the 2 Series Active Tourer will be more BMW like in it’s responses and overall performance. What that means exactly we won’t know until we drive it. But we can attest to the platform and the engines being very impressive in MINI form.

BMW Active Tourer

Look for the 2 Series AT to make it’s debut on the internet shortly with a public debut scheduled for Geneva in early March. Sales should start this summer in European markets with the US getting the car in time for the 2015 model year.

What will the US consumer make of it and how (if at all) will it affect brand perception? More importantly what do you think of it? Does it even matter to you, the MINI owner (or soon to be owner)? Sound off below.


(US Market information to follow)

Official European Release: 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.

  • So will BMW sell both a FWD and RWD 2 series? Or does this Active Tourer replace the recently released RWD 2 series coupe and RWD 1 series hatch (not it USA).

    • Bizarrely yes. Here’s why via BimmerFile

    • Nick Dawson

      When the BMW board approved the FWD UKL1 platform, the second generation RWD 1-series and the new RWD 2-series had already been committed for production and it was too late to cancel them. All RWD 1-series and 2-series will be progressively replaced with the FWD UKL1 platform before the end of this decade.

      If BMW is going to earn a decent return on its huge investment in the UKL1 platform, it will need to underpin as many models as possible. VW reportedly spent €50 billion on its new MQB FWD platform, which will underpin 40 of its group models. By comparison, using UKL1 to underpin the whole of 1-series, 2-series and MINI, that at best will only amount to 15 models. You see the problem.

  • Kev50027

    I love the way BMWs look now, but somehow they managed to make a small hatchback look like a minivan. I guess I’ll have to see it with someone standing there for perspective, but it doesn’t look especially sporty or exciting.

    • Gary

      I fully agree…except for the part about loving the way BMWs look today…

      • The 2-series coupe is more attractive than the previous 1-series. The current 7-series and 6-series are far more attractive than the previous bangle-butts. The new 2014 X5 is much sharper than the previous gen jelly-bean could dream of being and has an interior you actually want to spend time in. Not all is perfect of course: the 5 GT was a hideous mistake but I’ve seen the 3 GT in person and it wears it’s practical hatch well. The current 5-series is a bloated mini-7-series as opposed to a larger yet still sporty 3-series it once was. Generation over generation, the core products are stylistically a dramatic improvement.

    • John

      I think it is supposed to look more like a people mover than a sports car/hot hatch.

      • Kev50027

        Perhaps you’re right, John, but a people-mover/minivan is simply not BMW’s style. BMW has purposefully avoided making a minivan for a reason, they generally are hideous to look at, own, and drive. If you need the space, BMW would recommend you get a station wagon (estate for those across the pond) or an SUV.

        • Nick Dawson

          The two photos of the AT without camo are of the five seater version. The AT with camo, parked next to the Clubby, is the longer seven seater version. If the MINI ‘Traveller’ gets the green light for production, the seven seater version of the AT gives you a good indication of its height.

    • Mr Remi

      That was my thought, too: a minivan, which is about as appliance looking as one can get. My hunch is that it will drive great.

      Based on the side-by-side photo, am worried by the length of the clubman’s hood. Am just not connecting with the new vehicle designs (mini or bmw) based on this new chassis they’re sharing.

      But we’ll see how they sell. That’s what matters . . .

  • chris94602

    there’s a photo of this tourer next to what appears to be the next clubby. This car is much taller, which explains the minivan look in the photos. Unless I need that much more headroom, I think I’ll wait for the new clubby.

  • zinful

    Looks better than the new MINI.

    • Matt

      Nope, the Mini looks way better……

  • oldsbear

    When you say, “platform,” or “chassis and drivetrain,” saying that this car shares a platform with the F56, what, exactly, does “platform” include? What differentiates the models, aside from sheet metal and fabrics?

    • Think of the new shared MINI/BMW platform as a chassis/engine system that can be stretched as needed. The chassis has a minimum size and a maximum size and flexibility in between. Likewise the engines are extendable in .5L-per-cylinder chunks. From a 1.5L 3-cylinder up to a 3.0L 6-cylinder.

      • oldsbear

        I would like to see what is included in the “UKL.” So much emphasis is put on the cost of the “platform.” Is it suspension? Steering? How much of the total cost of the vehicle is in the chassis?

        • I don’t know the exact details off the top of my head, but the idea is to have as many shared components as possible, but stay flexible enough to make each car unique. For example, you can look at the F56, then look at the BMW 2-series Active Tourer. Those two cars are different sizes, look very, very different, but they share a lot of mechanical underpinnings. Think of it in terms of percentages. Starting from the platform, to make the F56 only required engineering 60% of the car instead of 100%. Same for the other cars based on the platform. (I’m guessing on that percentage, by the way, but that’s the idea.)

  • Russell Vague

    Price will be crucial for these cars. Any word on price range?

  • It’s interesting to catch the similarities: the exact same hood release, the same button layout on the steering wheel, same shape to the thumb rests on the steering wheel, the same nav/iDrive button layout (not a surprise), even the turn signal stalks have the same operation and wheel although the MINIs housings are more rounded and less squared off than the BMW. Lastly the extendable thigh bolsters are dead ringers. But at least the MINI has a mechanical e-brake: phew!

    I think the similarities bode better for the MINI than anything, although after traveling in Europe being surrounded by Audi A2s and Mercedes B-classes and with fuel economy standards increasing, this only makes sense and will hopefully be more enjoyable than its competitors.

    • tobi

      surrounded by audi A2? where… ? which city ?

  • glangford

    Converting imperial to us gallons, those are some pretty good mpg figures, in all variants. I’m hoping for the 218d version stateside. I think BMW is more likely to than Mini.

    • DuaneW

      BMW does seem to be doing more diesels, though I am hoping for the MINI version – SD perhaps. And the mpg numbers do look good and could be better in the MINI.

      • They’ve had the industries best diesels for a dozen years now – so much so that Toyota is now using them in Europe. They just haven’t been well know in North America.

        • glangford

          I agree, I’m driving the 328d, great little engine. I noticed that Toyota uses the 1.6L engine used in the Mini brand. They wouldn’t bring it here, but sold the engine elsewhere. 🙁

  • Mark Smith

    I like this.

  • lawrothegreat

    I’m a big fan of this new car. It’s not RWD but it doesn’t matter. If you want a car that can oversteer once all stability programmes have been switched off then buy RWD. The fact that BMW are pinning lots of hope on the UKL platform bodes really well for third generation MINI models. It’s also interesting that the 225i, with a more powerful version of the 2.0-litre B48 engine has identical performance figures to the new Cooper S. It almost feels deliberate.

  • Kirk

    If this were going to be destined as a 2 series it would only have two doors. A 1-Series or 3-Series would be for those with four doors.

    • Trying to find logic or consistency in the BMW naming conventions is a fool’s errand.

    • Nick Dawson

      The FWD BMW X2 (sister car to the next gen X1) will be available with both 2 and 4 doors

      • Nick Dawson

        …., and the 2 Series Gran Coupe will have 4 doors.

  • Wolfgang Gullich

    The Active Tourer 2-Series looks like BMW took the Ford C-Max and convened a think tank to figure out how to make it ugly…

  • Aurel

    I really like this … here’s hoping that sliding rear seat makes for comfortable passengers when Lurch is driving … one can only hope!

  • Vincent S

    is this why we can’t get a 1-series hatch in the states?

  • Mihai

    I wonder if the 225i engine is the N20 or the new B range. If its the new B engine I think this will power the JCW F56 which is not bad.

    • Matt

      Yes, it is the new B48 and not the old N20.

    • Yes that’s what we’ve previously reported:

      • Matt

        Yes, but the diesel in the BMW is the old one….

      • Matt

        Gabe, does that mean the new JCW will have 170kW, too ?

        • Yes it should be around the 225 hp mark. I’ve been told the output will be very similar but the “character” of the engine will be a bit different.

        • Matt

          I hope for more output. The new Audi S1 has 170 kW/231 hp, too.

        • Mihai

          I don’t think it will be more than 231 hp but compared to the audi engine it will be a lot more responsive and quite a bit more economical also. the engine in the S1 is basically a golf GTI engine and has mileage economy compared to the N55 6 cylinder BMW engines so in any case B48 engine is way better than the audi/VW engine

  • piper

    It should be renamed Hyundai. Not a good design. What is going on at BMW! The ugly new MINI and now this gargoyle. It looks like BMW is missing the mark big time.

  • piper

    Bring back the BMW 1. It was a very cool car.

  • Nick Dawson

    To assist those who find the complexity of BMW/MINI sharing the UKL1 platform, confusing, it might be helpful to explain that there are essentially two versions. A short wheelbase narrow platform, and a long wheelbase wide platform.

    F55/56/57 all use the short wheelbase narrow platform, whereas F54 will use the long wheelbase wide platform, which it will share with the 2 Series Active Tourer, and in due course the next generation FWD/4WD X1/X2 and Countryman 2.

    In summary, therefore, and the foreseeable future, the three core, or ‘Hero’ MINIs, will use their own unique version of the UKL1 platform, whereas the ‘Big’ MINIs will use the larger version shared with BMW FWD models.

  • glangford

    Great little car. I noticed in another article on the same subject (autoblog) the 225i and 218d trims will have the zf 8 speed option. The 218i trim has a 6 speed automatic op;tion.

  • socoloco

    BMW is making Ford Fiestas now? WTH.

    • glangford

      Ford Fiesta ST is an awesome car that is getting quite alot of accolades in the industry. 1.6 turbo, 197 hp. It may be the newest hottest hatchback around.

    • Nick Dawson

      The Ford Fiesta has been the UK’s best selling car for the past five years, and justifiably so. ‘You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time’. If only BMW could build a car so good. Oops, sorry that just slipped out!

    • socoloco

      You guys realize I’m taking a swipe at BMW for the look of the car being similar to the Fiesta? I mean they could be more original.

      • glangford

        I’m not seeing the resemblence. In that regard all FWD 4 dr hatchbacks look alike, as do all 4 door sedans.

      • Nick Dawson

        A facetious comment deserves a facetious reply but, then again, many a true word is spoken in jest.

        However, to my eyes, the 2AT shares absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the Fiesta. Perhaps one of us should have gone to Specsavers 🙂