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BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218i

WARM FRONT (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

BMW's 2 Series Active Tourer compact MPV arguably makes most sense in base 218i petrol form. Jonathan Crouch reports

Ten Second Reviewword count: 97

From launch, BMW's 2 Series Active Tourer marked a radical departure for the Bavarians in its use of front wheel drive and its targeting of the compact MPV segment. But this model has brought a weight of talent to the compact MPV sector that has some other rivals very worried. Power in this base 218i petrol version comes courtesy of a 140hp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine as seen in the MINI Cooper and all of BMW's chassis tuning experience is brought to bear. Plus the brand has recently lightly facelifted this car and improved its safety provision.

Backgroundword count: 170

Front wheel drive people movers aren't really BMW's forte. Well not until recently at least. BMW is a company that is all about rear wheel drive, with a very profitable sideline in four-wheel drive SUVs. It has let other companies develop MPVs while at the same time quietly selling front-wheel drive cars on the side, albeit wearing the MINI badge rather than a blue and white BMW roundel. At its launch in 2015, the 2 Series Active Tourer crashed straight through all that we thought we knew about BMW product planning. There will still be some BMW traditionalists vehemently opposed to this car, but they needn't worry. BMW will continue to sell them rear-wheel drive sports coupes and such like. If, as an MPV buyer in the compact segment, you thought that your options began and ended with an upscale Ford C-MAX, we think you're going to like the 2 Series Active tourer quite a lot. Here we have a look at the revised version of the entry-level 218i model.

Driving Experienceword count: 270

You're probably showing your age if you remember a BMW badge with '-18' on the back signifying a car with a 1.8-litre engine. These days it's safer to assume the 218i has anything but a 1.8-litre lump plumbed into its nose and such is the case. Pop the bonnet and you're greeted with a 140hp 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. At least you can claim that your car has the same engine as the BMW i8 supercar. You're just done a few kW of electrical power on BMW's hybrid sports flagship. In this guise, it gets the car to 62mph in a not catastrophic 9.3 seconds before sending it on to a respectable 127mph top speed. With turbocharging, direct petrol injection, double-Vanos variable camshaft timing and the longer firing intervals of the three-cylinders, it generates a chunky 220Nm of torque at just 1,250rpm, which are figures you might more reasonably expect from a diesel. A combination of a balancer shaft, dual-mass flywheel and a centrifugal pendulum absorber help quell the off-beat vibes you often experience in a three-cylinder engine. Where you might expect to find a compact torsion beam rear suspension, BMW has instead fitted a much more complex and expensive multi-link rear end. The 2 Series Active Tourer also benefits from a chassis where weight has been taken out where possible with the use of ultra-high strength steels in key stress points. The result is that the kerb weight of the 218i is a mere 1,320kg. That's only two kilos more than a 1.4-litre Vauxhall Meriva. A six-speed manual comes as standard, with no automatic option available for this particular engine.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-62mph (secs):

9.3

Braked Tow Weight (kg):

1300

CO2 (g/km):

132

Cylinders:

3

Electric Sunroof (Option cost £):

787.5

Emissions:

6

... and 20 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: MPV People Carriers

Performance
70%
Handling
70%
Comfort
70%
Space
70%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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