BMW boldly begins a front-wheel-drive future with the 2016 2 Series Active Tourer, a premium people mover that should offer respectable power, fuel economy, versatility and dynamics.
Responsive and efficient turbocharged engines; flexible interior; hatchback utility.
Won't likely deliver the same level of engagement as traditional rear-wheel-drive BMWs.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is an all-new model.
Say you like the small but versatile footprint of a hatchback like the Honda Fit, but want something a little larger and more premium. Perhaps the utility of a Mini Countryman is appealing, but you can't get past the quirky styling or interior. The 2016 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer could be your answer.
First, the Active Tourer shares little with the squat, rear-wheel-drive coupe that BMW also calls the 2 Series. The Active Tourer is instead a compact, front-wheel-drive four-door that's closer in mechanical identity to the latest Mini Cooper and the upcoming BMW 1 Series. It's a little longer than the Fiat 500L, shorter than the similarly styled Ford C-Max and lower than both. Even by the standards of BMW's finely sliced portfolio of wagons, small crossovers and long-bodied fastbacks, the Active Tourer is a bit of an oddball.
Although BMW hasn't confirmed specifications for U.S.-bound models yet, we expect a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine to power the 218i base model. Generating 136 horsepower, the small power plant will pair with a standard six-speed manual or available six-speed automatic transmission. The 225i model will use a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 231 hp and an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW says the 225i should accelerate from zero to 60 mph in about 6.8 seconds.
Befitting its shape, the Active Tourer should feature a handsome cabin with impressive flexibility. The rear seat slides fore and aft and folds down in a 40/20/40 configuration. A fold-flat front passenger seat is optional. BMW lists the Active Tourer's cargo capacity ranging from 16 cubic feet behind the second row to a maximum of 53 cubic feet (bear in mind these are based on European interior measurements, which differ from American standards). An available power tailgate can be further optioned with a hands-free opening feature that works when you swipe a foot under a sensor.
As with most modern BMWs, the 2 Series Active Tourer will offer Sport, Luxury and M cosmetic packages and a full suite of safety features and driver aids like adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, parking assist and the iDrive multimedia system. BMW officials have told us that the 2 Series Active Tourer was designed primarily for the European market, where it will go on sale this year, so its arrival in the U.S. isn't likely until the middle of 2015 at the earliest.