Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
If you want a diesel-engined BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, you have one option: the 148bhp 218d. We’ve yet to try that engine, but it was our favourite diesel engine in the previous generation 2 Series Active Tourer.
Our pick of the range, though, is one of the petrols, the entry-level 168bhp 220i, which uses a compact three-cylinder engine with mild-hybrid tech for a little extra power and efficiency. It’s quick to respond to your accelerator inputs, offering enough power to get you up to speed easily even when the car is fully laden with passengers and luggage (0-62mph takes 8.1sec). It's so good that we can't see why anyone would want to step up to the more powerful but much more expensive 223i.
Versions with the M Adaptive suspension (which comes as standard with M Sport trim) are better. Selecting Comfort mode softens the suspension, which stops the car being deflected off larger abrasions such as potholes and expansion joints.
We’ve driven a PHEV Active Tourer in pre-production form, and we were quite impressed by how well it masked the extra weight added by the battery. Like the mild-hybrids, it's firmer than the B-Class and other rivals, but never feels uncomfortable.
If you’ve driven other BMWs you might be surprised to learn that the 2 Series Active Tourer’s steering is incredibly light to the point where it almost feels synthetic. Keener drivers will find this rather disappointing as it doesn’t provide the driver with any real communication to the front wheels, but it is at least direct and allows you to place the car accurately on the road.