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Words: Tim Barnes-Clay
Featured in the October 2014 issue

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Executive expresses don’t come much better than those with BMW badges, and the latest object of automotive desire to hit the market is the 2 Series Active Tourer.

Compact dimensions on the outside, with room on the inside for up to five people.

The car is perfectly suited to the increasing challenges of city driving. This isn’t just because of its compact size; it’s because the BMW is easy to get into and it offers decent room in the boot for loading up shopping.

This doesn’t mean the German made motor is boring though – far from it. The Active Tourer is not only uniquely versatile but also distinctively styled.

From the low-rise double kidney-shaped radiator grille at the front, to the steeply raked windscreen and sculpted bonnet, the Active Tourer has a low-slung, athletic appearance.

The rear hatch, with its low sill and wide aperture, gives easy access to the load compartment, while vertical blade-like features on either side of the rear window, along with a rear spoiler, add style.

But these ‘blades’ add more than style, they contribute to impressive aerodynamic efficiency. But what does that mean? Let me explain: having a car designed with airflow in mind means it has less difficulty accelerating and can achieve better fuel economy because the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to push the car through the ‘wall’ of air. So, for example, the BMW 218i SE 136 on test here can achieve the 0-62mph sprint in 9.2 seconds, and yet it’ll still return around 57mpg.

Inside, the layered styling of the instrument panel and door panels gives the cabin an elegant, light-touch feel and emphasises the sense of space. At the same time the typical BMW driver-centric design of the cockpit underlines the energetic character of the 2 Series Active Tourer.

The versatile luggage compartment’s capacity can be enlarged from 468 to 1,510 litres, with a flat loading floor. Flexibility is further enhanced by a sliding rear seat, allowing either knee room or luggage space to be increased as required.

One particularly clever touch is the foldable boot floor that conceals a storage cubicle with a handy multifunction tray. Lashing points and bag hooks, one on either side of the rear compartment, are further features which add to the practicality of the boot space.

But what’s it like to drive? Well, a state-of-the-art, front-wheel-drive system on the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer balances comfort and agility. Add a very stiff, lightweight body, and you have a car that handles like a dream – and sticks to the road like glue.

The BMW 218i Active Tourer is powered by an all-new, three-cylinder engine. The unit is part of a newly developed family comprising lightweight, high-performance and fuel-efficiency talents, equipped with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The result is CO2 emissions of only 115g/km, yet peak power of 134bhp.

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer arrives in dealers on 27th September and prices start from £22,125 on the road.

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