BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Review

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer has (just about) room for five people and a high quality interior. You’ll pay for that premium feel, though.

6/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Refined, economical engines
  • High quality interior
  • Good interior space

What's not so good

  • Relatively expensive
  • Firm ride on M Sport models
  • So-so handling

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer: what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

BMW has built its reputation on cars that drive well, and much of that has been to do with its models traditionally being rear-wheel-drive. The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer marks a departure from that, though, being based on the front-wheel-drive Mini and putting space and practicality for five people before performance and handling.

The 2 Series Active Tourer was launched back in 2015, but was updated in 2018, getting a new front-end design with LED fog lights, new interior design and upholstery options and more exterior colours. There’s a wide range of fuel efficient engines to choose from and three trims levels that come packed with equipment.

Inside there are no complaints with the space on offer around the front seats. Even very tall adults will have plenty of head and leg room, and there’s no danger of them rubbing shoulders either. Hop in the back, though, and you’ll find the Active Tourer doesn’t have three individual rear seats unlike rivals such as the Citroen C4 SpaceTourer or Renault Scenic, which means that while headroom and legroom is generous for adults sat in the outside pews, a third adult sat in the middle seat will be more of a squeeze.

Handily, the rear bench splits 40:20:40 as standard, and will slide back and forth in a 60:40 configuration allowing brilliant flexibility. Entry-level cars don’t get this feature as standard, but it can be added as an option. Sadly, all-wheel drive models can’t have it at all.

As you would expect, the 2 Series Active Tourer leads the way when it comes to interior quality in a car of this type and size. Everything inside has BMW’s trademark solid build and most of the plastics look and feel expensive.

Paying extra for the BMW also gets you one of the best infotainment systems on sale today: its iDrive system. OK, so you only get a relatively small 6.5-inch screen on all cars, but it is at least easy to move through its on screen menus via the rotary controller and menu shortcut buttons between the front seats.

If you’re able to come to terms with not have a premium badge on your bonnet, there are MPVs that’ll cart five people in more comfort, but for much less money

Mat Watson
carwow expert

Thankfully, BMW hasn’t forgotten its heritage, because the Active Tourer is still good to drive for an MPV, thanks mostly to being based on the playful Mini hatchback. It shares that car’s grippy front end and direct steering, although there’s significantly more body roll to contend with when pushing it hard around tight bends. It rides comfortably, too, as long as you steer clear of the range’s large wheels and stiffer suspension settings.

If the idea of a premium MPV excite you, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is a high-tech, high quality option that’s decent to drive. Just don’t expect it to be the most practical choice, nor the cheapest.

What's it like inside?

You’ll pay more for a BMW Active Tourer than its five-set MPV alternatives, but that gets you a great interior and a class-leading infotainment system

Read full interior review

How practical is it?

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will transport four adults and their luggage no problem, but if you’re a family of five, there are more practical alternatives

It’s best to think of the 2 Series Active Tourer as a more spacious family car rather than an out-and-out MPV

Mat Watson
carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
400 - 468 litres
Boot (seats down)
1,350 - 1,510 litres

There are no complaints with the space on offer around the front seats. Even very tall adults will have plenty of head and leg room, and there’s no danger of them rubbing shoulders either.

Hop in the back, though, and you’ll find the Active Tourer doesn’t have three individual rear seats unlike rivals such as the Citroen C4 SpaceTourer or Renault Scenic, which means that while headroom and legroom is generous for adults sat in the outside pews, a third adult sat in the middle seat will be more a squeeze.

Indeed, shoulder space with three passengers is cramped on longer journeys, and because there’s a central tunnel rather than a flat floor, the middle seat is only really useful for short runs.

Handily, the rear bench splits 40:20:40 as standard, and will slide back and forth in a 60:40 configuration allowing brilliant flexibility. However, unfortunately entry-level cars don’t get this feature as standard, but it can be added as an option. Sadly, all-wheel drive models can’t have it at all.

When it comes to transporting a family, the more handy storage solutions on offer the better. Thankfully the 2 Series Active Tourer comes with BMW’s Extended Storage pack as standard, which includes things like extra cubbys in the central console, two cup holders built in to the rear-seat armrest and extra strapping and netting in the cabin and boot.

That’s on top of the car’s generous door pockets both on the front and rear doors and decent-sized cubby beneath the front armrest, which is perfect for chucking keys, wallets and purses into.

At 468 litres, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will be far more useful for moving luggage than the 2 Series on which it’s based, but ultimately you’ll squeeze more stuff into the boot of a Citroen C4 SpaceTourer and Renault Scenic.

Still, access to the Active Tourer’s boot is very good thanks to its wide opening and lack of boot lip, meaning there’s no lifting heavy bags any further than they need to be. Inside the boot is a nice square, consistent shape, too, so you won’t have annoying wheel arches or side trim getting in the way.

What's it like to drive?

Good to drive for an MPV

BMW has managed to make the 2 Series Active Tourer handle well for an MPV. Better, in fact, than all of the alternatives

Quite simply, the 2 Series Active Tourer is great to drive next to other MPVs, but it’s among the worst handling BMW. Don’t expect a big grin on your face.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The 2 Series Gran Tourer gets an excellent range of engines – the majority of which offer spritely performance along with affordable running costs. There are both three and four-cylinder options in both petrol and diesel forms, with power outputs ranging from 140-190hp.

The 220d 2.0-litre diesel is bound to be a popular choice thanks to being able to shove itself from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds and return real world fuel economy of around 55mpg. Its substantial mid-range performance will also prove useful when the BMW’s packed to the rafters with people and stuff, and it remains quiet and smooth even when rushed.

Don’t be put off the smaller 116d diesel or three-cylinder 118i petrol if you spend the majority of time in town, though. They’re cheaper to buy and run and will feel easily up to the job of town work when full to the brim with a family’s gubbins.

Thankfully, BMW hasn’t forgotten its heritage, because the Active Tourer is still good to drive for an MPV, thanks mostly to being based on the playful Mini hatchback. It shares that car’s grippy front end and direct steering, although there’s significantly more body roll to contend with when pushing it hard around tight bends.

It rides comfortably, too, as long as you steer clear of the range’s large wheels and stiffer suspension settings. M Sport models, for instance, look great, but with their 18-inch alloy wheels and stiffer suspension set-up they tend to thud into potholes a little firmly for an MPV. You’re better off sticking the smallest wheels and standard more comfortable suspension set-up for the plushest ride quality.

The Active Tourer also has plenty of safety kit available, including the BMW Emergency Call system that notifies local emergency services if any of the car’s airbags are deployed.
Driving Assistant monitors the position of the Active Tourer in its lane and prevent the car drifting around. The systems will also detect objects and people in the car’s path and bring the car to a stop if the driver doesn’t react in time.

An optional adaptive Cruise Control maintains a safe distance from the car in front and will adjust speed automatically should it begin closing the gap, bringing the car to a standstill if necessary.

Read about prices & specifications
RRP £25,565 Find new, used & lease car deals