The new 2 Series Active Tourer is the first modern BMW without an iDrive button

BMW’s new 2 Series Active Tourer is actually pretty cool.

BMW

When it was launched in 2014, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer was met with rather vicious criticism, especially by BMW fans. This was not exactly surprising, as the Active Tourer was a front-wheel-drive MPV with rather uneven styling β€” not what most enthusiasts want from a car with the blue and white roundel on the bonnet. But the Active Tourer has been pretty successful, with nearly 450,000 sold since its inception. This week, BMW debuted the second generation of the 2 Series Active Tourer, and although it does not deviate too far from the formula of the first model, it looks much better and has a radical interior.

The styling is certainly still non-BMW, ​​at least in the traditional sense, but I have to say I’m a fan. (You have to admit that it certainly looks better than the old one.) The combination of the huge, connected kidney grids, the sleek LED lights and the angular air intakes make the 2 Series Active Tourer look like an angry animal from an animated cartoon. I prefer the base model (the white car) over the M Sport package (the blue one) as the latter bumper design is a bit too picky.

Funnily enough, the new 2 Series Active Tourer has one of the most “real” Hofmeister Kink column designs out of any modern BMW, and the side paving is generally quite simple. BMW says the new car’s windscreen has a steeper rake, and despite the same wheelbase and slightly longer length, it has better proportions. I like the flush door handles that have been pushed off 4-Series Gran Coupe, also. The sleek taillights are now familiar BMW designs, and the 2 Series Active Tourer is available with wheels up to 19 inches in size.

This is a very nice interior.

BMW

However, that is the interior for me. The overall design takes inspiration from the new iX SUV, with a floating center console connected to the armrest (which unfortunately is not made of wood and crystal as in the iX) and a curved display on top of the dashboard consisting of a 10.3-inch gauge cluster and a 10.7-inch infotainment -screen. I love the real wood and aluminum cladding that spans hyphens, and the sleek vents with one in the middle give the dashboard a Star Wars droid-like look. There are almost zero buttons on the dashboard, with new iDrive 8 operating system contains almost all climate controls and other functions on the touch screen.

Therein lies the most radical part about the new Active Tourer: it’s the first BMW since the E65 generation 7 series to have an iDrive infotainment system that completely without a knob as a controller. BMW says iDrive 8 the system was designed to be operated via touch and voice control, and features are apparently ‘easier and more intuitively’ controlled than with the previous system. Much of the infotainment system can also be controlled with the buttons on the redesigned steering wheel.

No button here!

BMW

Practical is the name of the game when it comes to MPVs, and the 2 Series Active Tourer has a number of clever details. The center console houses commonly used controls such as the gear selector, volume selector and travel mode selection, and underneath is a large, open storage area. In front of the armrest are a pair of large cup holders and a slot for your smartphone that leaves the screen visible and can charge the device wirelessly. The rear seats can slide forward and aft by more than 5 inches, and the backrests lean back and fold flat with a 40:20:40 split. BMW says that interior space and cargo space have increased compared to the outgoing model.

The second generation Active Tourer runs on the same front-wheel drive platform as the old model (and the X1 and X2 that we get in the US), although it has a wider track and updated suspension components. It is offered with a single diesel engine and a few different gas engines, two turbocharged three-cylinder units and a 2.0-liter turbo four, with one of the three-cylinders and the four-cylinders with new 48-volt mild-hybrid technology . The most powerful model is the 218-horsepower 223i, which gets a boost of 19 hp from the hybrid system. All four engines are paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The new Active Tourer is more spacious than before.

BMW

Next summer, the Active Tourer series will get two plug-in hybrid models, the 225xe and 230xe. Both pair a turbocharged three-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels with an electric motor mounted with the transmission that drives the rear axle, providing PHEV four-wheel drive. The 14.9 kWh battery pack in both models is mounted low for a better center of gravity, and it can be charged from 0% to 100% in two and a half hours. While the 225xe makes a total of 241 hp, the 230xe produces a full 322 hp – and both have an EV range of 50 miles on the European cycle.

Standard features include an electric tailgate, dual-zone automatic dual control, navigation, rain sensors, parking sensors, four USB-C ports and automatic headlights. Optional are items such as adaptive dampers, a panoramic sunroof, dynamic ambient lighting, augmented reality navigation, a head-up display, nicer interior materials with contrast stitching, a Harmon Kardon sound system (with radial speaker grille) and even massaging seats. Forward collision warning, spare assistance, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking are also all standard, and the Active Tourer is available with adaptive cruise control with stop and go, a 360-degree camera, lane departure warning and a remote theft recorder. Depending on the car’s equipped hardware, features such as the adaptive cruise can be added later via an air update.

The new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will be sold in Europe in February 2022 with a starting price of around $ 35,000 for the base model 318i. The plug-in hybrids will follow a few months later. Although the Active Tourer is not sold in the US, you can expect some of its styling elements and button-free iDrive system to find its way to BMWs in America in the near future.

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