Test-driving duo, Royce and Angela Pedersen, get behind the wheel of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer — a small car that delivers big.
Men experience a few changes when babies come on the scene. If you’re lucky you’ll keep your bag of prize golf clubs and instead sell your mother-in-law’s fine jewellery to fund the renovation of the new baby’s room. But the main conundrum for your Kiwi male is does he sell his soul by trading in his performance car for a people mover? Does the ‘big boy’s toys’ budget get raided to fund a sensible family car?
Well, here’s a brazen alternative to your average (read: dull) family car – the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.
The car is bristling with technology. Not just whizz-bang, gimmicky technology but practical features which really make a difference, like the Head-Up display which reflects your speed onto the windscreen so that it’s in your field of vision. There’s also the economical, yet powerful, three cylinder engine which gets you up to 4.6 litres per 100 km of economical motoring while still providing over 220 Nm of torque. There are a lot of other features, many of which are optional, meaning you can customise before you buy and get exactly what you want. The BMW website (bmw.co.nz) has a fun ‘Build-Your BMW’ feature which allows you to customise your car just the way you want it. But be warned, you will be tempted to double your spend!
Driving the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer was quite an experience. Perhaps it was because my expectations were low after being told it was a 1.5 litre, 3 cylinder, front wheel drive. I was stunned at its performance and economy. The acceleration was incredible and this, coupled with great handling and many safety features, had me converted.
But the feature that really sets BMW apart from the rest is the BMW Efficient Dynamics. While other car manufacturers may include some of the same features, few match the level of excellence that BMW have attained. There are too many features to list here, but one that I really do like is the Start-Stop function which means the engine is only on when the car is moving. At traffic lights for instance, the engine cuts off automatically to save fuel. Take your foot off the brake and the engine springs to life again.
The R&D team at BMW have gone over every component of the car and optimised it for both performance and economy. ECO PRO mode is the system which gears every function towards achieving maximum efficiency. The in-built navigational system even gives you the option of selecting the most energy-efficient route and tells you how much fuel you’ll save. From accelerator and gear recognition to heating and air conditioning, everything is adapted to achieve either the ultimate fuel-efficiency or the ultimate performance.
In terms of its family-friendliness, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is the ultimate small family car. It still manages to fit three carseats across the back seat, with ISOFIX points for the two seats on either side.
BMW’s strategy has been to price the 2 Series Active Tourer squarely within reach of families lucky enough to be in the new car market. You can expect to pay around $52,000 for one of these and after our week long trial, I’m convinced that what you get for your investment is outstanding.
I must confess, ever since I test-drove the BMW X5 for the first issue of OHbaby! Magazine, I have had a car crush on it. But, being ever-so practical and aspiring more to feed a third world country than spend that amount of money on said car, I have simply admired it from afar.
That said, our family wagon is now getting on in years and with the launch of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, I might well be tempted this time. This car is aimed at the family market with an attractive signature BMW exterior and roomy interior for the family to spread out in. Plus, you get the comfort of knowing you have the safety features BMW is known for, including a reversing camera.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer’s front wheel drive system (a big change from normal BMWs) means there is more legroom and versatility in the back. Our family of five was plenty comfortable, so rest assured, those of you with one little one – there is lots of room to grow.
The back seat is spacious and you can adjust the amount of leg room by moving the back seat, depending on what’s in the boot. You could have a baby capsule on the back seat and a big buggy in the boot, or you could play with the configuration to have less room in the boot and more space around the seat for all the toys and Pillow Pets our young passengers seem to require.
Another feature that cemented my car crush further is the ability to wave your foot under the rear of the car causing the boot to pop automatically.
Royce and I could both connect our phones to the car via Bluetooth and the in-built GPS came in handy too.
Despite it’s three cylinder 1.5 litre engine, this car was peppy. It has two driving modes, ECO PRO or Sport. ECO PRO Mode helps reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%, depending on your style of driving. The car felt strong, stable, secure and had a grace about it that comes from BMW’s intelligent design. I’m confident we could transport our growing (not in numbers!) family comfortably and safely for years to come.
Photography: Sam Mothersole