BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 18d (2022): the diesel minivan is not dead

Soon
Monospaced Compact
Second generation
From €36,400

Launch a minivan in the midst of a wave of SUVs? It was a risky bet BMW in 2014 with the Series 2 Active Tourer. And despite the lack of customer love for minivan bodies, it seems that the Bavarian firm was right with more than 400,000 units sold worldwide. A success that BMW intends to continue with this second generation but only in short chassis. The long version “Grand Tourer” disappears from the catalogue.

The new Series 2 Active Tourer retains its slim minivan silhouette with measured height. The dimensions are very close to the previous generation. The length has been increased to 4.39m (+3cm) while the wheelbase is unchanged (2.67m). BMW wanted to give it a slightly more “crossover” look, particularly with the arrival of a large grille like the rest of the range and refined headlights. The rear also evolves with much better integrated lights than before. The sporty appearance can be enhanced by selecting the M sport trim, which dresses the minivan with an M Sport body kit, 18-inch wheels and a specific ‘Alpinweiss’ colour.

This second generation adopts the large BMW grill like the rest of the range.
This second generation adopts the large BMW grill like the rest of the range.
The taillights are slimmer and fit better on the tailgate.
The taillights are slimmer and fit better on the tailgate.

The interior gets a much bigger overhaul. This translates into the introduction of a double digital panel slightly curved towards the driver made up of a fully configurable 10.25-inch instrumentation that can be assisted by a head-up display and a 10.7-inch multimedia screen, finally touchscreen. The latter benefits from Android and Carplay connectivity and from an “Alexa” personal assistant.

This new device causes the disappearance of many buttons, including the i-Drive wheel present since the early 2000s. Adjusting the temperature and ventilation now requires going through this tablet. However, BMW has implemented a shortcut to facilitate access. The other great novelty is the appearance of a floating console between the two front seats. Very aesthetic but impractical. The folding armrest houses a small storage space and to take advantage of the large storage compartment below, you will have to turn it.

Total renovation in the passenger compartment with the arrival of two digital screens.  The presentation of this high finish
Total renovation in the passenger compartment with the arrival of two digital screens. The presentation of this high finish “Luxury” lives up to its name.
A floating armrest with its qualities and its defects also makes its arrival.
A floating armrest with its qualities and its defects also makes its arrival.
Here is a vertical smartphone holder equipped with an induction charger.
Here is a vertical smartphone holder equipped with an induction charger.

BMW took advantage of this new floating console to place the start button there. It’s a habit to get into because after a week behind the wheel of the Series 2 Active Tourer, we were still reaching for the Start button. In front of this console is a double cup holder (without springs for “slim” cans) and a vertical smartphone holder equipped with an induction charger and completed by two nearby USB-C ports. The idea is ingenious.

The materials and finish live up to the brand’s reputation and the prices charged. I mean excellent. Our test version in the high “Luxury” finish, sold for €38,500, was equipped with a “full leather” interior of excellent quality. The basic version, called “Active Tourer”, which bills €36,400 with this engine, is already very well equipped. Among the many options available in the catalog, we recommend the Harmann Kardon sound pack and its 12HP (€810). Aesthetic with its aluminum grilles, this sound system offers a depth of bass that will delight music lovers.

The home button migrates to the new floating armrest, an unnatural position.
The home button migrates to the new floating armrest, an unnatural position.
The optional €810 Harman/Kardon sound system offers very good sound quality.
The optional €810 Harman/Kardon sound system offers very good sound quality.

As a good minivan, the Series 2 ActiveTourer offers more modularity than an SUV. The basic offer consists of a folding rear bench according to the 40/20/40 scheme equipped with reclining backrests. Unfortunately, to take advantage of the sliding rear seat (more than 14 cm), it will be necessary to subscribe to an overpriced package (Evasion: €2,050). The rear seats offer adequate space for two adults. The middle seat will serve as a repair, since it is narrow and the space at the foot is occupied by the transmission tunnel. The cargo volume is identical to the previous generation. That is to say, in the average of the category with 470 liters of base. It can be expanded to 1,455 liters with all seats folded down.

Installing a diesel engine in a family vehicle seemed logical in the 2000s. Today, this offer is considered heresy because in the near future, whose deadline is random depending on the area, vehicles classified as Crit’air 2 ( i.e. all vehicles with modern diesel engines) will be banned from EPZs (low emission zones). For Paris, the date is set for January 1, 2024.

Two adults will ride properly in the back.  Note that the sliding bench seat is optional on a very expensive package.
Two adults will ride properly in the back. Note that the sliding bench seat is optional on a very expensive package.
Offering 470 liters of base and modular floor, the trunk sits in the category average.
Offering 470 liters of base and modular floor, the trunk sits in the category average.

However, without making the apology for the diesel, this engine still has many advantages. Especially if it is designed by BMW. One of the best engine builders in the world. It emits little CO2 (maximum 134 g CO2/km, i.e. a penalty of €190 maximum in 2022) and really consumes very little! During our 500 km test we recorded an average of 5.4 l/100 km on a mixed route, without ever practicing eco driving (an Eco mode is available). An excellent score that will spread out your visits to the pump and guarantees a range of close to 900 km with a full tank (45 litres).

This 4-cylinder, the only one currently in the catalog (the petrol engines are equipped with 3 cylinders), develops 150 hp and a maximum torque of 360 Nm, lacks light hybridization and is exclusively associated with a double gearbox. clutch with 7 relations. . The latter has an “L” mode for low that increases the efficiency of engine braking and allows faster acceleration. Please note that this mode is only available with the automatic gearbox without paddles. If the customer requests a paddle car, this mode will be replaced by an “S” mode (with shorter gear change laws).

This 18d version offers extremely low power consumption levels.  We recorded an average of 5.4 l/100 km.
This 18d version offers extremely low power consumption levels. We recorded an average of 5.4 l/100 km.

The Series 2 Active Tourer takes advantage of the high torque to compensate for its high weight, which is close to 1,600 kg. Accelerations are snappy and pickups solid to keep you comfortable in all situations. It is at a constant speed on the highway where you will notice its sparrow appetite that is around 5.1 l/100 km. In town, this 4-cylinder is logically less flexible than its gasoline counterpart, but it knows how to be discreet.

The chassis maintains the spirit of the first generation. It is tuned firm to bring out the dynamic qualities. Body movements are perfectly controlled and the smooth steering is responsive and precise. Therefore, the BMW minivan offers a superior driving temperament than most compact SUVs. However, pay attention to the size of the tires selected, which will influence the level of comfort, especially at low speeds where the slightest imperfection will affect the cabin. Finally, the brake pedal, really too firm for our taste, penalizes driving in the city and especially in traffic jams.

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