BMW's new 2 Series Active Tourer touches down in Australia this week, with the ‘premium tall family hatch’ starting at $44,400 plus on-roads.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly for traditionalist BMW fans, the 2AT is the German carmaker's first-ever mass-produced front-wheel-drive model.
“With its combination of elegant design, enhanced functionality, powerful yet economical performance and acclaimed BMW driving characteristics, the 2 Series Active Tourer will facilitate the company’s entry into a whole new customer segment,” BMW Group Australia’s Shawn Ticehurst said.
“And, with the high level of specifications standard on every vehicle, we’re sure they will be very happy customers indeed!”
The 2AT is available in three variants, with two petrol engines joined by one diesel option in the local line-up - all featuring BMW TwinPower turbocharging and matched with automatic transmissions.
The entry-level 218i gets a 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol engine (another first for the BMW badge) producing 100kW and 220Nm, connected to a six-speed automatic.
Next in the price range is the sole diesel-powered option in the 218d, with power and torque rated at 110kW and 330Nm respectively from the four-cylinder unit.
The diesel returns fuel consumption of 4.2l/100km, making it 1.0l/100km more frugal than the 218i petrol model’s 5.2l/100km for a $3400 premium.
Topping the local range is the 225i model with a 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 170kW and 350Nm, with fuel economy listed at 6.1 l/100km.
Both the 218d and 225i are matched exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Standard safety features for 2 Series Active Tourer models in Australia include lane departure warning, forward collision warning, parking assist, a rear-view camera and 'light city' braking.
The 2AT also gets a standard automatic tailgate, climate control air conditioning, a sports leather steering wheel, satellite navigation and a permanent SIM card installed with BMW Teleservices and Intelligent emergency call activated.
The top-spec 225i adds sports seats and a ‘visibility package’ over the 218d and 218i, and the 225i also gets 18-inch alloys over the lower-spec model’s 17-inch wheels.
BMW believes a move to front-wheel-drive hasn’t dulled the driving experience of its new venture, saying the electro mechanical steering produces a driving sensation that is “virtually devoid of interfering torque steer”.
The high-roof, long-wheelbase, air-filled cabin with its five-seat layout is aimed squarely at family buyers, while an even longer seven-seat version of the 2 Series Active Tourer is expected to be unveiled later this year.
No word yet on whether Australian customers will be able to opt for the seven-seater in the future; likewise the all-wheel-drive versions of the 2AT expected for overseas markets.
A model that is due to arrive in Australia is the 220i petrol-powered 2AT, scheduled for a local debut midway through next year with pricing yet to be confirmed.
BMW’s main (and perhaps only) rival for its new model in Benz’s B-Class undercuts the 2AT on price at the entry-level by $3500.
Pricing (excludes on-road costs)
2014 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
- 218i - $44,400
- 218d - $47,800
- 225i - $54,900
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