When the 2 Series Active Tourer was first launched in 2014, BMW fans were outraged. What was this legendary brand messing around with front wheel drive and MPV layouts?
From a business point of view, it was a necessary move. Their biggest competitor, Mercedes-Benz, went on the offensive with its B-Class, which quickly became a hit with family-oriented buyers who still craved the premium brand and accompanying extras.
Even Volkswagen stepped into the ring and presented a decidedly Teutonic but affordable option to the market in the form of the Golf SV. And while it wasn't a market killer, it marked the beginning of an all-out brawl between the German giants.
In the BMW camp, the forks were sharpened and a lot of unkind words were said by the purists. But one thing could not be denied: the AT/GT Series 2 was a money machine and became one of the brand's best sellers from day one.
And now we have its continuation. Gone are the jagged curves and dimensions that made the first-generation 2 Series Active Tourer look like it was dialed up, giving the impression that it's a "smaller" BMW than others.
The model we have on hand here, the 216i, now looks much sharper from all angles. It has a more assertive and aggressive profile and razor-sharp lines that contribute to its impressively low drag coefficient (Cd is 0.26 according to the manufacturer).
It's also longer, taller and wider despite using the same UKL2 platform as its predecessor.
The 216i Active Tourer features the latest BMW kidney styling, which means it's a visually impressive car. But somehow the grille suits the 2 very well, complementing its front profile like a tailored suit.
And being an M Sport model, it has a rather aggressive looking front bumper with larger intake panels than the standard sump variant.
It receives slim and tapered LED lights at both ends along with very avant-garde design elements. For example, the rear light has a honeycomb motif on the sides that contrasts with the illuminated parts, creating a unique look at night.
The rest of the back panel, while unexciting, looks elegant without going overboard. Unlike older models of the 2 AT series, the exhaust tip is no longer visible.
The 216i Active Tourer earns our approval thanks to its intelligent cab design.
With a floating center console and vertical front panel, both driver and passenger will find it surprisingly spacious considering the car's relatively compact exterior. The spacious atmosphere is also created by the curved BMW display, which gives you all the driving and media information you could possibly need and want.
Many people will find the seating position to be high, even after adjusting the power seats, which reminds you that this is no M4 competition. That said, the cockpit ergonomics are just brilliant. The leather upholstery of the 216i is soft and of high quality, and the well-damped switchgear is within easy reach.
The highlight is undoubtedly the aforementioned center console. Its fluid design is brilliant and we love how well the switches and gear stick are positioned. A minor gripe would be the glossy black plastic finish on the gear panel, which easily attracts dust and fingerprints.
Four USB Type-C ports and a 12V socket keep your devices powered, while a central storage compartment holds your phone even at an angle.
What we don't like is the HVAC control panel, which can only be accessed via the touchscreen. We still prefer the buttons and knobs to be physical to minimize time spent looking at the screen.
Even the 216i's auto start-stop function is carried over to the infotainment system, which is frankly a little too much.
Furthermore, BMW Operating System 8 is a joy to use. The interface hits all the right chords when it comes to everyday usability, and we never had any problems trying to navigate the system. The display is clear, vivid, but not intrusive.
Intelligent features available on the 216i include cruise control with brake function, which can even detect and respond to other road users to avoid a collision.
The parking assistant is also available as standard, which allows you to park the car in a designated parking space without the driver's intervention. During our testing, the 216i performed flawlessly, fitting into various parking spaces without messing up the job.
Rear seat passengers will have a great time in the back of the 216i thanks to the generous amount of space available. The seats are angled, so even people taller than 1.8 meters will have no problem sitting in the back on long trips.
Family-friendly amenities include two USB Type-C ports, AC fans, and storage just below them.
In the back, you have 470 liters of cargo space and thanks to the low loading frame, it is an extremely practical package. The seats in the second row can easily be folded flat in the ratio 40:20:40, which increases the space to 1,455 liters when all seats are folded down.
Punch above your weight
Three cylinders might not seem like much, but the 216i is a surprisingly dynamic MPV. The 1.5-liter TwinPower Turbo engine delivers 90 kW of power, or around 124 hp and a torque of 230 Nm.
In other words, the 216i can easily overtake other vehicles at express speed and does not run out of air up to 214 km/h. It takes around nine seconds from zero to 100km/h, although the engine's lively (if slightly harsh) sound makes it seem quicker than it is.
In corners, the 216i exhibits a remarkable sense of balance despite its tall body. We attribute that to the stiff Adaptive M suspension that comes standard with the M Sport package. While this means you can drive fast, it will be a bit bumpy for your passengers.
We experienced only a little body roll when attacking corners hard, which means that beneath the family look and layout, the FWD 216i still has some of the old BMW features that many of us have come to love.
When it comes to fuel economy, the Beemer is surprisingly economical. Official figures say it gets around 14.7kmpl and we easily crossed the 14kmpl mark.
E-assessment for everyone
The 216i Active Tourer is proof that it is already a future BMW. Its impressive driving dynamics, taut engine and spacious cabin show that the manufacturer has given serious thought to the design of this MPV and has ensured that it does justice on all fronts.
And now that the public car is COE Category A, even more people can enjoy it without spending six figures on a piece of paper.
While it may not be the last word in pure driving pleasure, the 216i Active Tourer does an excellent job of giving owners (and their loved ones) a delicious taste of what a BMW is capable of.
|Specifications BMW 216i Active Tourer M Sport|
|Price: 221,888 USD||VES-hold: B|
Turbocharged in-line three-cylinder TwinPower
|Power: 124 KM, 230 Nm|
210 kilometers per hour
|Fuel tank capacity: 54|
|Wymiary: 4366 mm x 1824 mm x 1576 mm||Wheelbase: 2670 mm||child capacity:|
470 – 1455 l
Billedkreditering: Muhammad Mu'tasim (@mutasimdrives)
Keywords: mReview: BMW 216i Active Tourer M Sport - a premium family car