What is it?
More than twenty years after BMW built a series of experimental front-wheel-drive 3 Series models, the German premium brand has finally entered the automotive mainstream with the new front-drive 2 Series Active Tourer.
It is firmly positioned as a premium product, but the 2 Series is also firmly planted in the biggest market sector in Europe, that of the ‘C-segment’ hatchback.
BMW, like Mercedes and Audi, is also on a continuous expansion plan and it says it has indentified new trends including the dual habit of downsizing and more people living in cramped urban areas, as well as a distinct new market made up of affluent middle-class couples with a sporting bent.
The ‘semi-command’ driving position is also a big part of the Active Tourer’s make-up, BMW director Ian Robertson told Autocar.
He added that the Active Tourer is not evidence of the brand going downmarket, so much as it reaching down towards to top-end of the mainstream market and encouraging buyers to reach back up to a premium brand. Roberston also said that BMW expects about 70 per cent of Active Tourer buyers to be new to the brand.
The upshot is that the Active Tourer is small enough to park, big enough to carry your expensive mountain bike and priced – in the 218d SE form we drove in Austria – only about £3000 more than the equivalent diesel Ford C-Max Titanium.