First Drive Review: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and Coupé
Independent review by Chris Russon
- Plenty of hi-tech equipment
- Great performance
- Stylish looks
BMW is doubling up with its 2 Series line up with a new Active Tourer MPV and a feisty Coupé.
In differing parts of the motoring spectrum, the two models have their own audience, but each offers plenty.
The Active Tourer has family appeal, while the 2 Series Coupé is more specialist and aimed at those who want a car with style and panache.
Under the skin, both are very different from their predecessor and show off the latest in BMW’s technology.
Engines and Performance
We have just tried out both newcomers in the shape of a 223i Active Tourer with its new 48-volt mild-hybrid powertrain and a very sporty M240i with a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder turbo petrol engines offering mighty performance.
A 3-cylinder 220i 1.5-litre petrol engine is also available, as is a 4-cylinder diesel, the latter being rated up to 58.9mpg on average.
On the road it performs in fine fashion and with the engine developing 215bhp it is quick enough with a 0 to 62mph acceleration of seven seconds, a maximum of 150mph and fuel consumption ranging from 42.8 to 47.1mpg with emissions as low as 137g/km.
All versions come with 7-speed dual clutch transmissions that have now been updated to switch into park mode as soon as the engine is switched off.
Plug-in hybrid versions are also on stream, offering up to 49 miles of emission-free driving.
Performance from the M240i we sampled is awesome for a car costing from £45,795 and with all-wheel drive the road holding is sublime.
Head-up display makes its debut for the 2 Series Coupé and all versions – the range includes a 220i and 220d diesel – now have an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The 3.0-litre 6-cylinder block in the M240i delivers a sublime drive and can sprint from 0 to 62mph in just 4.3 seconds. Top speed is restricted to 155mph and while BMW claims an official average of 34.9mpg with emissions as low as 185g/km, the best we saw was 29.2mpg.
Design and Practicality
The Active Tourer now has a large trademark BMW kidney grille and LED headlights which give it a commanding look, while it is more than an inch longer than before, improving interior space considerably.
Luggage space on the 223i Active Tourer ranges from 415 to 1,405 litres, there is more legroom in the rear with seats that can slide some six inches fore and aft.
But it is in the front where the greatest changes appear and those include quite a minimalist approach to the instrumentation with only a handful of controls on a ‘floating’ centre console set above a large open storage area.
The Coupé meanwhile has been completely restyled, giving it a much more pronounced ‘three box’ shape with a long bonnet dominated by a power bulge that gives way quite abruptly to the cabin and a short boot.
While more conventional inside than the Active Tourer – the layout is much more similar to that of the current 4 Series model – it is supremely comfortable and has a proper sports car feel.
In fact, the new coupe is now more of a shortened 4 Series than a stretched 1 Series as before, and that means out has gone the front-wheel drive set-up of the previous car.
Boot space is also increased to 390 litres and although the loading lip has been lowered slightly the opening remains fairly narrow.
Equipment and Technology
The dashboard continues the theme with BMW’s new Curved Display, which comprises a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel and a 10.7-inch central display behind a single transparent sheet. The only physical controls you will find on the dash are two buttons for the ventilation system.
There is no gear lever, but a toggle switch set up while the parking brake is electronic with an auto-hold function - it is all very modern and mainly controlled either from the central display screen or via voice.
Equipment is second-to-none in both the Coupé and Active Tourer, with the latest technology offering up a truly luxurious feel.
Much of the technology has filtered down from BMW’s all-electric iX and i4 models, and the arrival of its latest computerised operating system is the first in one of its more compact cars.
For those who crave a compact car with astonishing performance, the 2 Series Coupé leaves little to the imagination. It is thunderously powerful, and in sport mode the enhanced sound from the exhaust is truly satisfying.
A completely different beast to the Coupé, the 2 Series Active Tourer prioritises practicality, versatility, and comfort over all, but both models have a loyal fanbase that looks set to expand.