The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is BMW’s first commitment to front-wheel drive, and it could inject some much-needed excitement into the MPV segment. Does a 57 MPG turbodiesel and a six-speed manual transmission tickle your fancy?
This front-wheel drive BMW may be heresy to some, but it’s a necessary evil if you ask me. BMW’s entry into the front-drive field could be a good thing for cars in general, and it will ensure the brand can survive the next fuel crunch. BMW has always put performance and luxury on the same pedestal, giving the brand a very devoted (if disproportionately douchey) following that always lauded the lack of front-wheel drive offerings.
But front-wheel drive is a superior platform when it comes to fuel economy and poor driving conditions, and while BMW does offer all-wheel drive models, these systems add additional costs both to the MSRP and development. With Europe putting heavier taxes and tighter restrictions on car emissions, the need for an efficient, and easily mass-produced front-wheel drive vehicle has become impossible to ignore. The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will come with three engine options at launch, including a 57 MPG 2.0 liter turbodiesel (that’s on the European driving cycle, folks), though the hybrid drivetrain that debuted in the Active Tourer concept is noticeably absent. Other engine options include a TwinPower 1.5 liter three-cylinder shared with the new MINI Cooper, and a 2.0 liter TwinPower turbo four-banger, with all three options likely to come to America as well.
If you ask me, this is one of the best-looking hatchbacks out there, and a real looker in an increasingly stale field of clones and wannabes. The tall hatchback design enables more than 53 cubic feet of storage with the rear seats folded down, and an available six-speed manual is a real rarity in the compact MPV segment. I also think it’s one of the most dynamic-looking MPVs on the market, a real breathe of fresh air. It’s an attractive car in my opinion, though results may vary.
Europe is more likely to take to a front-drive BMW, but purists both here in America and abroad have hated on the brand for doing what’s best to keep the company thriving. The problem with purity is that it only works in a static environment, and these days the auto industry is flowing faster than the simultaneous flushing of all of Manhattan’s toilets.
Could you accept a front-drive Bimmer into your driveway?