In an age where luxury crossovers and SUVs are dominating the market, BMW believes that there is still customer demand for MPVs.
To prove that, the Bavarian automaker recently revealed the "all-new" 2 Series Active Tourer. Now on its second generation, it's set to go up against the latest Mercedes-Benz B-Class and features a sleeker design and more high-tech amenities.
Like most BMWs nowadays, it gets the big kidney grille treatment which almost covers the entire front end. It's then accompanied by a pair of sleek LED headlights and a sporty front bumper. The side profile may look the same but BMW did make use of flush door handles to give the MPV a more upscale look and feel. Depending on the variant, the 2 Series Active Tourer can come with wheel sizes that vary from 16-inches to 19-inches.
Around the back, the exhaust has been integrated onto the rear bumper and there are now air vents that give it a sportier appearance. Meanwhile, the new LED wraparound taillights are now slimmer in appearance.
Perhaps receiving the most drastic makeover is the MPV's interior. Borrowing styling cues from the BMW iX technology flagship, it now has a huge 10.25-inch digital instrument display and 10.7-inch touchscreen infotainment. The system is now powered by the new iDrive 8 operating system and comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and 5G mobile sim technology.
It also gets a floating center armrest that accommodates the electronic gear selector, electronic parking brake, driving modes, the start/stop button, volume control, and button for the parking sensors. With more space in the center, BMW put more cubby holes and storage bins for a more practical interior. There are even additional USB ports that can recharge smartphones or other mobile devices.
As before, the seats have a 40:20:40 seating layout. This allows drivers to set them in various configurations, with a cargo capacity between 470 to 1,455 liters. Other available features present inside the new MPV include dual-zone automatic climate control, panoramic glass roof, Harman & Kardon sound system, power tailgate, Sensatec or Vernasca leather, electric front seats with memory function, and a navigation system.
Under the hood, a wide array of turbocharged engines are available on the 2 Series Active Tourer. Starting with the gasoline range, the 218i is powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder that makes 136 PS with 230 Nm of torque.
Next is the 220i which also gets a 1.5-liter inline-three, but makes more power at 170 PS with 280 Nm of torque. Serving as the most powerful gasoline engine is the 223i which makes use of a larger 2.0-liter inline-four. It produces 218 PS with 360 Nm of torque.
Prefer a diesel engine over a gasoline one? There's also the 218d that has a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel engine that makes 150 PS and 360 Nm of torque. All four engine options are connected to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
A suite of intelligent safety systems can be specified on the 2 Series Active Tourer. Some of these include active cruise control with stop and go function, lane departure warning, steering and lane control, front collision warning, and automatic parking assist.
But is the 2022 2 Series Active Tourer really all-new? Underneath its new stylish exterior and interior remain the UKL2 platform which has been in use since 2014. It has seen use in the BMW 1 Series Sedan, the 2 Series Gran Coupe, the Mini Countryman (F60), and the Mini Clubman (F54). BMW did not specify whether they made changes to the chassis. What is clear, however, is that it does get a major upgrade in both design and technology.
The MPV is set to go on sale in early 2022 in Europe first. With that, we can expect other global markets to follow suit. But the question now is, will BMW bring the second-generation MPV to the Philippine market, considering it did not do so well the first time around?