Connectivity, refined drivetrains, and improved cabin materials.
German luxury carmaker BMW claims that they’ve made a “new” 2-Series Active Tourer for 2018, and if it wasn’t for the highly-detailed press release, we wouldn’t have believed them. An amalgamation of a million tiny alterations, the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it new model promises to take what was great about the outgoing car and make it better, while also refining things that we never really took issue with.
The last time we saw the 2-Series Active Tourer was when we reviewed it some time ago, and there were very few gripes with it. We didn’t have too many gripes about the styling, which likely explains why the 2018 2-Series Active Tourer sports only the most subtle design revisions. BMW says there is a “significantly larger kidney grille,” as well as a fascia marked out by its three-split lower air intake finished in black, emphasising the width of the thing. Optional LED foglights are pushed to the furthest edge of the front bumper (except on plug-in hybrid models), while the headlights retain their familiar twin-ring setup, but are now available with optional LED or Adaptive LED technology.
The rear sees some changes too, like a new “trim finisher on the rear apron,” as well as new exhaust pipes that BMW has handily measured for us, reporting that they now have a 90-millimetre cross section. Riveting stuff.
There’s a new M-Sport package on offer as well, which throws in a “dynamically styled” front and rear bumper, both featuring finishing touches in Dark Shadow that emphasise width and dynamism, though we wonder just how dynamic people expect their front-wheel drive people-movers to be. And no matter how much BMW postures that this is a ‘Sports Activity Tourer,’ it’s really a high-riding MPV.
The most significant changes to the new 2-AT are actually under the skin, namely in its drivetrain. Globally, the 2-AT will be available with a six-speed manual as before, but gains a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic as well as an 8-speed automatic as well. Power outputs will range from 80kW to 170kW depending on the motor, with fuel consumption ranging from 2.3L/100km (on the PHEV, no doubt) all the way to 6.4L/100km, with impressive CO2 emissions too. All motors, petrol and diesel, “have been thoroughly revised.”
In-car entertainment and technology have also been given a proper look-over, with the very latest iteration of BMW’s ConnectedDrive interface “seamlessly” integrating into your “digital lifestyle.” The 2-AT now offers a built-in SIM card to offer optimum connectivity to BMW’s ConnectedDrive services like real-time traffic information, ‘Time-to-Leave’ notifications (via your BMW Connected app), as well as Remote Services functionality. Available as options are things like a WiFi hotspot, wireless charging, and Apple CarPlay (yes, it’s an option). Assistance systems are also available as options via the ‘Driving Assistant Plus’ package, which throws in active cruise control, traffic jam assistant, lane-departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, and pedestrian detection.
Truly, the new BMW 2-Series Active Tourer might not be immediately perceptible as a new-model, but perhaps that’s a good thing. The 2-AT represented a radical departure from BMW’s form when it first arrived, and yet it sells extremely well in the European and Chinese market, suggesting that people have grown accustomed to the image this MPV projects. So while BMW’s changed a million little things for this mid-life facelift, they understand that the 2-Series Active Tourer was certainly never broke, so they haven’t risked ruining the recipe by fixing it.