BMW 2 Series Active Tourer vs Volkswagen Golf SV – Comparison Test

2 Series | January 3rd, 2015 by 1
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UK magazine What Car test drives, reviews and compares the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and the Volkswagen Golf SV. BMW 2 Series Active …

UK magazine What Car test drives, reviews and compares the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and the Volkswagen Golf SV.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

The first BMW with front-wheel drive, the first BMW-Van and the first BMW with a three-cylinder engine as the sole powertrain under the hood – like no other car the new Active Tourer shows how much the Bayerisch Motor Werke company has changed in the last few years. Not often BMW has gone against the tide when entering a car segment where it never before was present. But precisely when most of the car manufacturers are migrating from the less than thrilling MPVish/people carrier to the more sexy SUV/crossovers territory here we have the Bavarian car make creating a buzz with the Active Tourer.

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While not yet marketed for the U.S. demographic, the new 2 Series Active Tourer is expected to be an important revenue generator for the company in Europe. Read our test drive review.

Volkswagen Golf SV

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Taking advantage of the Mk7 Golf’s flexible MQB architecture, the VW Golf SV (short for Sportsvan) offers proper MPV proportions. VW has largely managed to retain the hatchback’s considered aesthetic using tricks such as a glasshouse-extending fifth side window and bonnet-lengthening creases, and therefore it offers significant cabin space. The front-wheel drive platform also uses a combination of small petrol and diesel engines that offer the perfect balance between sportiness and fuel efficiency.

The folks over at What Car looked at the two cars from three angles: interior space, driving experience and pricing.

Here is an excerpt from their review:

What are they like to drive? 

Both contenders come with 2.0-litre diesel engines, paired with six-speed automatic gearboxes. They produce an identical 148bhp, but the SV pips the 2 Series in the performance stakes. It was close to half a second quicker from 30-70mph, and was marginally faster in all but one of our kickdown tests. The Active Tourer is no slouch, though, and its auto ’box transmits the engine’s power to the wheels more smoothly than the automatic gearbox in the SV – which can get caught out when creeping along in traffic, or if you demand a sudden burst of acceleration.

In fact, all the controls in the BMW are ideally weighted, so you always know exactly how much pressure to apply to the pedals when required. This makes it very easy to drive smoothly, and it isolates its passengers from engine noise better than its rival, with a diesel grumble intruding only at high revs.

There’s a rush of wind noise over the windscreen at motorway speeds, and on coarse surfaces the 17-inch wheels generate a fair amount of road noise. That said, the Golf has similar issues.

Long trips on the motorway will be fairly comfortable in both cars because they feel stable at speed, but the SV is a fraction more agile on twisty roads.

In top-spec GT trim, the Golf gets 17-inch alloy wheels and suspension that’s 15mm lower than that on lesser trims. 

The SV grips better than the BMW in tight corners, but the set-up does the low-speed ride no favours, because the SV jostles around over bumps. The (£815) adaptive dampers help smooth out the ride, but it’s a shame you can’t opt to remove the stiffer springs.

The 2 Series also gives buyers the option of adaptive suspension (£390), which was fitted to our test car. It helps it soak up larger bumps and potholes better than the Golf, without any sacrifice in body control through corners. There are three modes to choose from, via a switch on the centre console, but most buyers will leave it in the default ‘Comfort’ setting – which is well suited to everyday driving.