Test Drive – BMW 2-Series Active Tourer 218d image

In an attempt to keep production costs low and to go ahead with its times, the 2-Series Active Tourer is the first vehicle made by BMW with a front-wheel drive layout and while its competition has been here for quite some time now, this is really new ground for the German brand.

Engine and Transmission

The 2-Series Active Tourer 218d is powered by a 2.0 liter four-cylinder which is capable of putting down 150 HP at 4,000 rpm and 330 Nm of torque available from as low as 1,750 rpm. Despite not looking all that interesting, the MPV doesn’t feel underpowered and this is more than enough if fuel consumption is on your mind. The unit is connected to an 8-speed automatic double-clutch transmission which is one of my favorite, being a class over the one offered by Mercedes-Benz, better than the equivalent from Renault and even the DSG made by Volkswagen.

Compared to one of its main rivals, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, the 2-Series Active Tourer has better sound proofing material and, unlike its competitor, which is coming with a 1.5L dCi (Renault-sourced) and a 1.8L diesel, on the 180 CDI version, producing 109 HP, the BMW is more powerful but don’t expect the extra 40 HP to make a lot of a difference. What puts a big gap between the two in this chapter is that brilliant gearbox and the better sound proofing.

Fuel Consumption

BMW says that the 218d Active Tourer will burn 4.9 liters of fuel in the city, 3.8 liters on the highway and achieve an average of 4.2L / 100km. As we know by now, things tend to be a little different in the real world because in the urban environment, the trip computer indicated almost 8 L / 100 km, without the usage of the EcoPro mode and on the highway, again, without the EcoPro mode, the vehicle was eating out 6.2 liters of fuel every 100 km in an alert driving mode at speeds varying between 100 km/h and 130 km/h. Take the car up to 140 km/h and the engine will burn 7.1 L / 100 km. The official figures can be achieved but you will have to push the throttle really slow and not take it beyond 70 – 80 km/h on the highway.

The Ride

At a first glimpse, the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer is surprisingly comfortable compared to its main competitor, the B-Class, and it seems to be better made. Points are lost big time, however, in cornering, because the 218d feels too heavy on the front and its front-wheel drive layout combined with the ride height aren’t helping it at all. In fact, I prefer the driving feel offered by the Renault Scenic in cornering rather than the 2-Series Active Tourer. Most customers will never feel this difference if they haven’t been on any other BMW or if they haven’t taken a spin in its rivals and even if understeer comes in pretty late, the vehicle is not that stable in cornering. Its chassis isn’t helping it either because the whole car feel wobbly so BMW really has a long way to go before making a maneuverable FWD model.

Interior Design

The same design of the dashboard is found inside the 2-Series Active Tourer as in the rest of the BMW lineup so if you are familiar with the controls, you will feel right at home. The plastics used inside it are of a superior quality to the ones used on the B-Class, the seats are more comfortable and the whole dashboard has been raised to trick your brain that you are sitting closer to the ground. “Conservative” is the word we are looking for when describing the cabin and this is a good thing because German engineering can be felt in every button, in every soft plastic touch and in every part of the interior. The 2-Series Active Tourer really has no competitor when it comes to the cabin layout and the quality of materials used.

The numerous storage spaces are a constant reminder that this isn’t a Coupe and you’re sitting in a family cruiser. You get a raised roof for enough headroom and in the back you can seat three people with enough space for their legs in long drives. However, the rear bench seems to be too narrow and this is, once again, another compromise. The luggage space has 468 liters, almost 20 liters less than the B-Class, so if you have a large family, you will really feel this. The ambient light, which can be changed from the iDrive to glow in white or orange is a nice plus and so is the risible head-up display.

Likes / Dislikes

Considering the fact that this is BMW’s first attempt at a front-wheel drive car, we have to give the engineers credit but with the company’s logos fitted to it, my expectations in its maneuverability were higher. Don’t get me wrong, put the Volkswagen badges instead of the BMW ones and everyone will say that this is simply great. But I cannot overcome the fact that the chassis is not that good and the weight of the engine, compared to the weight distribution, have ruined in cornering. This is something the BMW officials need to think for the next generation of the MPV because customers may turn for the competition and they might even end up buying a sporty wagon, such as the CLA Shooting Brake, making a compromise in space in favor of the good driving feel of FWD architecture and small & economical engines.

In the plus side, talking about its exterior design may be subjective but it’s really a hard choice to make between it and the B-Class. The interior design is where things change completely and if this is an important criteria when ordering an MPV, head for the 2-Series Active Tourer because you will have no remorse. The numerous storage spaces is where the vehicle gets another plus but this is lost quite fast in the limited luggage compartment. Comparing all these with the expensive price, which in the test car stood at close to 50,000 euros, it makes you think whether a Renault Grand Scenic, which costs just over 27,000 euros, or a Scenic XMOD, priced at 25,000 euros, isn’t really a better choice.

BMW 2-Series Active Tourer 218d AT
Engine: 2.0 liter diesel, 1,995 cc
Power: 150 HP at 4,000 rpm
Torque: 330 NM @ 1,750 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, double-clutch
Dimensions: length 4,342 mm, width 1,800 mm, height 1,555 mm
Weight: 1,485 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 51
Trunk Capacity: 468 liters
0 – 100 km/h: 8.9s
Top Speed: 210 km/h
Cheapest Version – 30,628 EUR, VAT included
Tested Car – 47,466 EUR, VAT included
Rating:

3.8 / 5

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