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The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer has been revealed ahead of its official debut in Geneva next month, and its arrival on the scene will mark the introduction of the automaker’s first mass-produced front-wheel drive vehicle, or as Munich unabashedly puts it, “the BMW among front-wheel drive cars.”

Measuring in at 4,342 mm long, 1,800 mm wide and 1,555 mm tall, with a 2,670 mm-long wheelbase, the compact premium MPV is set to take the fight to the likes of Mercedes-Benz’s B-Class. The FWD offering’s chassis features a newly-developed single-joint front-spring strut axle and new multi-link rear axle.

The five-seater is targeted at buyers who want interior space and carrying capacity, but in a compact form. There’s a longer seven-seater version in the pipeline as suggested by spyshots, which will expand the 2er AT’s scope if more volume is needed.

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A large glass surface area (there’s an optional panoramic roof to aid things further) and horizontal surface textures help give the cabin a light and spacious feel. The luggage compartment measures in at 468 litres, but folding down the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats brings this to 1,510 litres. The rear seats are slidable, allowing either knee-room or luggage space to be increased as required.

Elsewhere, the tailgate can be optionally specified with push-button automatic opening/closing or with a Smart Opener function, which offers automatic tailgate operation with a quick flick of the foot, as first seen on the Ford Kuga.

At launch, the 2 Series Active Tourer will be available in 225i, 218i and 218d forms, with further models – the 220i, 220d and 216d, as well as XDrive versions – joining the range later in the year.

BMW Active Tourer

The line-leading 225i Active Tourer is powered by a 2.0 litre turbo unit offering 231 hp at 4,750-6,000 rpm and 350 Nm at 1,250-4,640 rpm, with performance numbers including a 0-100 km/h time of 6.8 seconds and a 235 km/h top speed. The 225i features a newly-developed eight-speed auto transmission – equipped with Launch Control – as standard.

Of more interest is the 218i Active Tourer, which marks the debut of the three-cylinder 1.5 litre petrol unit on a mass-market BMW. The TwinPower Turbo unit, which premiered on the BMW i8, develops 136 hp at 4,500-6,000 rpm and 220 Nm from 1,250 rpm, with overboost to 230 Nm available for short periods up to 4,150 rpm.

As standard, the 218i will ship with a newly-developed six-speed manual transmission – the unit is adapted from the existing transmission, but revised to suit the front-wheel drive layout and transversely-mounted engine configuration. Performance-wise, the manual 218i is good for a 200 km/h top speed and a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 9.3 seconds, with an ECE test cycle fuel consumption average of 4.9 litres per 100 km.

Key features of the stick shifter ‘box include a high-performance carbon multi-cone synchromesh to aid fast and easy shifting as well as a new gear sensor to provide rev-matching in Sport mode. There’s an optional six-speed auto transmission, of course, which features Auto Start Stop and a coasting function.

As for the 218d, the necessary numbers are 150 hp at 4,000 rpm and 330 Nm at 1,750-2,250 rpm, a 205 km/h top speed and 0-100 km/h time of 8.8 seconds as well as a claimed 4.1 litres per 100 km fuel economy. A six-speed manual is standard fit, with the new eight-speed auto being optional.

In terms of equipment levels, a Sport Line and a Luxury Line is available for the car in addition to the basic version. From November this year, an M Sport package will enter the market. The kit lowers the ride height by 10 mm through a M Sport suspension and dresses the car up with special 17- or 18-inch wheels and BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line window trim.

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Also to be found, an M aerodynamics package (with special front, rear and side body parts), a host of M-based finishers and accessories, including a distinctive high-gloss black double kidney grille at the front of the vehicle, as well as an option to exclusively specify the 2er AT in Estoril Blue.

Standard safety kit for the 2er AT includes airbags for driver and front passenger, side airbags for driver and front passenger and head airbags for front/rear seats, as well as DSC, which contains a raft of features, including Start-Off Assistant, Brake Drying function, Brake Standby and Fading Compensation. The four-cylinder models, the 225i and 218d, get a Performance Control system, which suppresses the typical front-wheel-drive understeer characteristics without waiting for stability to reach a critical point.

As is the norm, EfficientDynamics and ConnectedDrive items are to be found. Standard ED features for the car, aside from Auto Start/Stop, include ECO PRO mode, Brake Energy Regeneration and Optimum Gearshift Indicator. The 2 Series Active Tourer is also the first model in the premium compact class to have a full-colour Head-Up Display.