BMW’s five-seat MPV returns as an all-new model with gasoline 218i, mild hybrid 220i and 223i versions, PHEVs to follow, seven-seat model TBC for Singapore
Munich, Germany – BMW has announced the second-generation of its multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the 2 Series Active Tourer.
That might surprise some observers, who thought it could be cancelled, but they’ve obviously not been to Singapore, where the brand’s first MPV saw plenty of success. In fact, BMW sold 430,000 of them since the launch of the first-gen in 2014.
BMW Singapore has indicated a launch for the car in Q1 2022 – right-hand drive models to go on sale in the UK in March 2022. Likewise there is no news of a seven-seat Gran Tourer model, the most popular version of the previous car here.
The car will have four conventional, combustion-engine models at debut: 218i and 220i petrol, and 218d and 220d diesel models. There are two plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions, the 225e and 230e.
Abroad, we can expect the typical Luxury, Sport, and range-topping M Sport variants, but the ‘standard’ models for Singapore may be different.
It’s an all-new car, with a totally new interior and exterior design, along with much-improved chassis tech, but the basis of the second-gen is likely to be BMW’s UKL2 front-wheel drive platform.
The car’s 2,670mm wheelbase remains unchanged, but that’s the only carry-over: The car is 4,386mm long (+32mm), 1,824mm wide (+24mm) and 1,576mm tall (+21mm), which should translate to more interior space. Notably, the track has been increased (25mm front, 26mm rear) which BMW claims will improve the car’s handling.
We’d never call the original 2 Series AT handsome, it’s basically a ‘Bimmer Box’, but the new one presents a far improved image. Naturally, it echoes current BMWs – see the 2 Series Gran Coupe-style taillights – so it’s far cleaner, with crisp lines, and the big kidney grille gives the front end some much-needed visual weight. You’ll also notice one almost unbroken ‘ramp’ line from the grille to the roof, which also adds sportiness.
BMW claims much improved aerodynamics – although the claim of ‘as low as 0.26Cd’ is the same as before – through air curtains, a roof spoiler, optimised wheels, a ‘virtually fully-sealed underbody’ and hidden tailpipes. One stand-out here? Flush door handles. BMW also claims improved NVH through this, as well as a more refined engine operation, and less weight on the bonnet since it’s made from aluminium.
|Model||218i||220i||223i||225e xDrive||230e xDrive|
|Type||Gasoline||Mild hybrid||Mild hybrid||PHEV||PHEV|
|Battery||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||14.9kWh net||14.9kWh net|
Drivetrain variants are as listed above. Singapore will be most interested in the base 218i naturally – it still packs a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine as found in the current car, although with 136hp it just misses out on Category A eligibility.
Still, there’s the mild hybrid versions which could easily pass for a VES rebate and enjoy a lower price tag as a result: Both the 220i and 223i are 48V mild hybrids with e-motor boost, so start-stop should be a seamless affair, and the motor will help at quick red-light getaways.
The PHEV models will be launched ‘some months’ after the market debut of the first three variants. The cars pack BMW’s latest fifth-generation electric drive tech – as seen on the BMW iX3 BEV – with battery packs located in the floor of the vehicle for improved handling. The PHEVs can handle 7.4kW charging so a full charge will take two and a half hours, delivering a claimed 80km of e-range. In the PHEVs, the gasoline motor drives the front wheels and the motor driving the rear wheels for all-wheel drive capability.
The 2 Series AT is the first small (UKL) BMW to feature the new BMW iDrive and BMW OS 8.0 software which will make their first appearance in the brand’s new electric flagship, the iX this year.
Check out that story for more details, but it basically means larger screens, more computing muscle, and more smart features for owners – like the voice control system Intelligent Personal Assistant gaining more features including route recognition and suggestion.
You’re cued into that by the curved 10.25-inch driver’s display and a 10.7 inches infotainment display, both housed behind one pane of glass for a single, coherent appearance. BMW, like Mercedes-Benz, has picked up a high-tech trick from Tesla: The Optional 360 Parking Assistant Plus (a full 360 view camera with 3D modelling) can also use the driver assistance systems to record 360 degree footage, which can be exported later on.
This feature, called BMW Drive Recorder, could be very useful for claims and preventing vandalism, or simply to record favourite driving segments. Another feature is the Remote Theft Recorder, which can record videos and pictures from onboard cameras both inside and out, if someone makes off with your ride.
Less sexy and flashy is the interior space: BMW claims increased leg, head, and shoulder room all around. The second row is adjustable, and can be moved to-and-fro, for an additional 90-litres of boot space. The cargo capacity is 470-litres to a maximum of 1,455-litres. The mild hybrids, which have the extra 48V battery under the boot, sees 415-litres to 1,405-litres.