Here’s proof that no BMW is safe from the manufacturer’s obsession with gigantic kidney grilles. Despite being one of the smaller vehicles in the range, the all-new 2-series Active Tourer has not escaped the eye-popping design trend, with a set of nostrils that look to be as large (and spangly) as those found on the 7-series.
The results are…disproportionate. If we didn’t know any better, we’d wonder if these images involve Photoshop trickery, but no - the 2er AT definitely looks like this. The Mercedes B-Class rival has also been given that little upwards kink on the lower edge of the rear window which we’ve seen on several other modern BMWs.
It sits on a new platform and is slightly longer, wider and taller than before. Interior space has improved, and you get up to 470 litres of boot space with the rear seats up, or 1,455 with them folded flat.
Although it’s not the kind of BMW you’ll use to tear down a back road, the track widths have increased by 25mm at the front and 26mm at the rear. There’s even an M8-style system which “brings together brake activation, brake booster and braking control functions within a compact module”. This “generates pressure more dynamically,” we’re told.
From launch, there’ll be three engine options available. The 220i uses a 1.5-litre inline-three developing 168bhp, with the 223i sitting at the top of the food chain with its 215bhp 2.0-litre inline-four and 7sec 0-62mph time. The only diesel is the 218d, which is powered by a 148bhp inline-four. Both petrol units feature a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that saps some of the boot space - those luggage capacity figures above are for the 218i. Later, plug-in hybrid versions will join the range.
The inside is a whole lot easier on the eye than the outside, with a cabin inspired by the also controversially-styled iX. You get a curved, frameless glass display made up of two screens - one forming the instrument cluster and the other used for infotainment purposes.
It’s a minimalist space that can be tweaked to the buyer’s preferences thanks to snazzy trim options like ‘Aluminium Hexacube’ and open-pore eucalyptus wood. You might have noticed a lack of many physical buttons - if you want to adjust things like the climate control, you’ll need to do so via the central screen. Joy.
Prices start at £30,265 for the 220i AT, rising to £32,71 for the 223i. The 218d sits in the middle with a starting price of £31,820. All of these will be available in the UK from March 2023.