BMW hatches a new plan

Meet the car BMW once said it would never build. The new 2-Series Active Tourer marks the first front-wheel drive effort from the Bavarian brand, if you ignore the fact it’s been building MINIs for well over a decade now.

Speaking of, the new Active Tourer shares its platform with the latest-gen MINI, and the base 218i also shares the base Cooper’s 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 100kW/220Nm. There will also be a diesel-powered 218d, but this being MOTOR we’ll focus attention on the range’s sportiest offering, the 225i.

Under the bonnet is a 170kW/350Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, which is potent enough haul 1430kg of hatch-cum-people-mover to 100km/h in 6.6sec, matching the claimed time of the Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport. And that’s really the car the 2-Series Active Tourer must aim to beat.

It may look more like a B-Class in size and shape, but BMW is making plenty of noise about how the Active Tourer upholds the brand’s reputation for dynamic excellence, with a Nürburgring lap time of “less than nine minutes”. Being based on the MINI platform is a step in the right direction, but we might have to await the arrival of the M Sport package for an Active Tourer with an athletic edge.

The 2-Series Active Tourer will go on sale in late-2014, priced from just under $45,000.

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