BMW 2-Series Active Tourer Marks Start of FWD Era

BMW embarks on a new era of front-wheel drive motoring.

If you remember the Active Tourer concept this won't come as too much as a surprise. If not, then you might want to sit down. This is the first ever front-wheel drive car to wear a BMW badge. Once you wrap your head around that one, the next challenge is to work out the name. It's called the 2 Series Active Tourer, and will officially debut next month in Geneva. Taking on the Mercedes B-Class, the FWD hatchback combines style and practicality in one neat package.

Instantly recognizable BMW traits include a forward-slanting kidney grille, circular headlights and the Hofmeister kink. Motivation will come from Mini's engine family: the entry level 218i comes with a 1.5-liter three-pot rated at 136 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, the 218d has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel good for 150 hp and 243 lb-ft, and top of the pile is the 225i developing 231 hp and 258 lb-ft from its 2.0-liter four banger. 0-62 mph is a claimed 6.8 seconds and top speed 146 mph. All engines are mated to a six-speed manual, with optional six- and eight-speed autos.

To maintain the cornering prowess BMWs are so renowned for, the carmaker has given the Active Tourer a multi-link rear end under its 2.67-meter long wheelbase and kept weight down by using lightweight high tensile steels in the build. Inside, a typically premium cabin boasts a driver-focused design with a “semi-command” seating position offering a better view for complex maneuvers. Along with leather upholstery and a head-up display, the 2AT comes with the ConnectedDrive kit including automatic parking and the ability to self-drive in heavy motorway traffic. Sport Line and M Sport packages give buyers the choice to sex-up their rides, but before you get excited, there's still no word on whether it will make it stateside.

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