BMW 2 Series Active Tourer review: Is it an MPV? Is it an SUV? Who knows, jump in

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As you’ve no doubt noticed, petrol is quite expensive stuff at the moment. Most of us are struggling to put a full tank of liquid gold into our vehicles, which is why when driving this new BMW 2 series for the first time, there was a very pleasant surprise in store.

Picking it up with a full tank of unleaded, the range read “430” miles, which seemed pretty decent.

Fifty miles into the journey, that number hadn’t changed. A hundred miles in and it still hadn’t.

After a 120 miles, I began to think there might be something wrong with the display and tapped it a few times.

Then, at last, 135 miles later, it finally dropped to 429 miles of range left.

Now, sadly I can’t report that this magic feat of somehow regenerating petrol continued the whole time I had the car, but it certainly got around 600 miles to a tank, which is very handy when petrol costs the same as dodo feathers.

And it’s also a bonus when you consider that this all-new, fully revamped 2 series has some… issues.

The main problem is that firstly I can’t work out what it is, and secondly who it’s for exactly.

The refresh has certainly made it a smart looking car, squaring off the people-carrier styling of the old version, which was admittedly very popular, around 40,000 were sold in the UK.

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But it’s not quite big enough to be an SUV, and it sits low enough that it could probably be considered a family hatchback.

However, the boot isn’t big enough to put a buggy in, so that probably rules it out for young parents.

Those with larger broods likely won’t choose it either, because it doesn’t have seven seats and it will only fit a couple of suitcases in the back.

And yet it’s too big for people without kids, because all the great legroom in the back will go to waste.

So, let’s assume you do want to spend almost 40 grand including options on the M-sport 223i we tried out.

If you have that kind of cash kicking about, then you probably won’t be too upset with your choice.

The interior is typically dazzling for BMW these days, all floating displays and driver safety aids which flash alerts and wrench the wheel from you if you dare to drift.

Most importantly is probably the lane change assist, which actually stops you doing what BMW drivers are so famously often accused of, namely refusing to use the indicators.

If you even try to nip from the inside to the outside lane without signalling you can almost hear the car cry out, “No, stop, this is what everyone thinks we’re like, don’t even think about it”, before correcting you and leaving you suitably shame-faced.

The ride height is good, allowing a fine view of the road and the optional panoramic roof is a must, flooding the cabin with light and affording an almost Tesla-like look at the inevitably disappointing weather.

It has a fully-digital driver’s display which is very hi-res and does away with the need for the Heads-up just above it which tells you exactly the same stuff just a few inches higher.

There are a couple of real problems though which are mystifying to say the least.

Firstly, the accelerator pedal is set too high, meaning whenever you pull away from a standstill you’re jerked forward because there’s too much initial power supplied.

And then secondly, more worryingly, the brakes take an absolute age to begin to actually slow the car.

There’s so much travel in the pedal that almost every time you use it you’re afforded an element of blind panic that someone has snipped the cable. Quite why BMW has calibrated them like this is bizarre.

If you can get past that however, the car handles very flat through corners, it’s really very quick for what it is and as previously mentioned, the mild-hybrid engine will give you plenty of miles for your fuel.

So, all in all, it isn’t bad. Whatever it is. And whoever it’s for.

The stats:
Model: BMW 2 series Active Tourer M Sport 223i

Price: £36,390

MPG (Manufacturer stated) 42.8 – 47.1

0-60mph: 7.0 seconds (est)

Top Speed: 150mph

Boot space: 406 litres (seats up) 1455 litres (seats down)

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