Review: BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014)

Rating:

Good to drive. Well-finished cabin. Electric tailgate and one-touch folding seats as standard. Efficient engines.

With options packs it can get expensive. Some rivals offer better practicality and more space.

Recently Added To This Review

20 November 2019

Report of 2015 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218iSE needing a new clutch and dual mass flywheel, but, when the engine and transmission were separated, play was found in the driveshaft because problem bearing... Read more

21 October 2019

Report of 2015 BMW 220D being recalled to replace EGR cooler in May 2019. Since then has travelled 3,700 miles. Now further trouble with EGR valve which needs replacing. But owner has 3rd party warranty... Read more

15 September 2019

Report of front and rear brak pads needing replacing on 2015 BMW Active Tourer 218i 1.5 Steptronic at 26,000 miles. Read more

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014): At A Glance

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is another niche-filling model from the German manufacturer. Larger than a 1 Series but not quite an estate car, the Active Tourer is BMW’s rival for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and the Volkswagen Golf SV. It marks some firsts for the brand, with three cylinder engines and front-wheel drive.

It still feels every bit a BMW though. It’s impressively built, comfortable and yet still good to drive. The interior is smartly designed and uses top quality materials. There are some sumptuous upholstery choices on offer, including cream leather, plus various designs for dashboard inlays, with wood or metal finishes depending on the trim level.

There’s a lot of technology too, including a large infotainment screen with top-notch navigation, linked to to BMW’s intuitive iDrive system. There’s room for five in the cabin, plus there is a large boot with an electronically operated tailgate as standard. Space might not be as generous as a Mercedes-Benz B-Class, but it’s still ample for most families.

The chassis and certain engines in the 2 Series Active Tourer are shared with the MINI range, which is no bad thing. The Active Tourer successfully blends ride comfort with a good level of grip through corners. There is very little in the way of body roll and the controls are perfectly weighted, making driving easy yet enjoyable.

There’s a broad range of engines on offer using typical BMW naming, which has little to do with the engine capacity and more to do with its ‘rank’ in a hierarchy. Entry level petrol and diesel engines are 1.5-litre three cylinder units shared with the MINI and they are fine for most - but motorway or rural drivers will benefit from the extra power and torque offered by the more powerful 218d diesel or 220i petrol.

Those seeking a practical family car with a prestigious German badge now have three options - and the BMW is as impressive as its rivals from Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. The B-Class and Golf SV offer better practicality, as does the Citroen C4 Picasso, but the 2 Series Active Tourer feels every bit as plush as a larger car like the 3 Series, plus it offers great driving dynamics and plenty of technology.

BMW 218i Active Tourer Long Term Test

What does a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014) cost?

List Price from £25,600
Buy new from £19,038
Contract hire from £223.39 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4342–4354 mm
Width 2038 mm
Height 1555–1556 mm
Wheelbase 2670 mm

Full specifications

The 2 Series Active Tourer is built with practicality in mind - so there is a lot of space in the cabin. The back row has room for two adults - even three at a push. Head and leg room is generous and the seats can slide and be reclined, although not individually like a Citroen C4 Picasso.

Boot space is impressive at 468 litres and practicality is enhanced by an electronically operated tailgate, which comes as standard. Also standard are the electronic, one-touch switches for flipping forward the middle row of seats. This frees up a total of 1510 litres of luggage space, with a useful flat deck to aid with loading and unloading.

Up front the 2 Series Active Tourer is impressively finished, with typical BMW build quality. The materials used are solid and it feels well screwed together, with soft touch materials on the dashboard plus hardwearing plastics lower down. BMW has an array of upholstery and trim finishes, with various leather choices and a range of wood or metal dash inlays. The drivers seat is comfortable and the driver-oriented centre stack has easy-to-use minor controls. 

There are numerous smaller storage compartments including a centre armrest with a docking port for mobile phones built in. The only area that lets down an otherwise impressive cabin is the front ashtray, which is covered in a cheap, flimsy plastic that is obviously the result of cost-cutting. 

There’s an iDrive system as standard, linked to a 6.5-inch screen. Once you get to grips with the rotary-dial control system it becomes second nature and is easy to use on the go. The iDrive can be upgraded with a larger screen and a very impressive navigation system. Other options include a reversing camera, a panoramic roof, active cruise control and many more extras - so it’s easy to add thousands to the price.

Standard equipment

SE models come with 16-inch alloy wheels, 6.5-inch colour iDrive display, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, electric front and rear windows, DAB radio, rear parking sensors, climate control, drive mode selection, keyless start, automatic wipers and automatic headlamps.

Sport trim adds Sport styling inside and out, plus sports seats and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Luxury trim adds specific interior and exterior styling and unique 17-inch alloy wheels.

M-Sport adds M-Sport styling inside and out, plus 18-inch alloy wheels and M-Sport specific suspension and a sports steering wheel.

Child seats that fit a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014) like to drive?

BMW offers the 2 Series Active Tourer with three petrol options and three diesel. There are 218i, 220i and 225i XDrive petrol variants along with 216d, 218d and 220d diesel models. Even the entry-level 216d engine produces a healthy 116PS, along with a useful 270Nm of torque, plus it’s economical with official fuel consumption of 74.3mpg and emissions from 99g/km. It’s all the engine most buyers will need.

Similarly, the entry-level 218i petrol is perfectly capable of propelling the Active Tourer up to speed and it does a good job at a cruise too. Peak power is 136PS and peak torque is 220Nm, yet emissions are respectable at 115g/km and official economy is 57.6mpg.

Larger engine options offer more torque and power, with the top, all-wheel drive 225i XDrive producing 231PS. Emissions, while fairly high at 148g/km, are respectable for such a powerful, all-wheel drive model, as is economy at 44.1mpg. It also offers all-weather capability, although it is pricey. 

The sweet spot in the engine range is probably the 218d diesel. This produces a useful 150PS and 330Nm of torque, yet it remains economical, with official economy of 68.9mpg and emissions of 109g/km. That means it’s affordable to run yet more than capable in any road situation. It’s especially good when paired to the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The manual gearbox isn't quite as slick as that in a Volkswagen Golf SV, with a little notchiness. But regardless of engine and gearbox, the Active Tourer offers nicely weighted and accurate steering. However, being front-wheel drive there isn’t quite the same feeling of poise and balance as you’d get from a 2 Series Coupe. The drive is still enjoyable though.

Comfort impresses too. The 2 Series Active Tourer soaks up speed bumps, potholes and damaged road surfaces with aplomb, especially at speed, yet body roll is kept in check unless the car is pushed particularly hard. Low speed ride isn’t quite so serene, but it’s still very impressive.

The only things that lets the 2 Series Active Tourer down is noise. It isn’t at all bad, but the engines can be heard grumbling away under acceleration - particularly the three-cylinder units. It’s a minor gripe however, doing little to detract from the appeal of an otherwise impressive car.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
216d 66–71 mpg 10.6–11.1 s 99–112 g/km
216d Automatic 63–67 mpg 10.6–11.1 s 103–113 g/km
218d 63–69 mpg 8.9–9.0 s 109–119 g/km
218d Automatic 61–69 mpg 8.9–9.1 s 109–119 g/km
218i 49–58 mpg 9.2–9.3 s 115–132 g/km
218i Automatic 49–55 mpg 9.2–9.3 s 119–132 g/km
220d 63–64 mpg 7.6 s 115 g/km
220d Automatic 64–66 mpg 7.5–7.6 s 112–117 g/km
220d xDrive Automatic 58–60 mpg 7.3–7.5 s 122–124 g/km
220i 46–48 mpg 7.5 s 137 g/km
220i Automatic 49–50 mpg 7.4 s 130 g/km
225i xDrive Automatic 44–44 mpg 6.3 s 148 g/km
225xe PHEV - 6.7 s 46–57 g/km

Real MPG average for a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

69%

Real MPG

27–85 mpg

MPGs submitted

434

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Why are the rear brakes in my relatively new BMW 2 Series already worn?

I own an 18 month old BMW 2 Series Active Tourer which has just had it's first service at 17,100 miles. I'm told that the rear brake pads are worn and need replacing (£275). Having owned many cars, I've rarely had to replace rear pads and never before the front ones have been done. Is this something I should query further? Perhaps the setup is incorrect, resulting in premature brake wear. In this case, should it be a warranty issue?
Cars fitted with electromechanical parking brakes tend to wear their rear pads earlier. Also rusted rear discs wear the pads earlier. Rust accumulates on the rear discs because 90 per cent of a car's braking is at the front and if the car lightly brakes then the rear pads hardly touch the rear discs.
Answered by Honest John
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