That didn’t take too long. Following its world premiere less than a month ago, the second-generation 2 Series Active Tourer has now entered production at the Leipzig factory in Germany. It joins the 1 Series hatchback and 2 Series Gran Coupe on the assembly line as all three share parts and a front-wheel-drive-based platform. The next-gen MINI Countryman will join them in 2023, complete with an EV version.
Many people raised their eyebrows when BMW unveiled the original 2 Series minivan, and yet here we are, seven years later, and the Bavarian people-mover has earned its right for a sequel. Looking at the sales numbers, it certainly deserves one seeing as how more than 400,000 units have been shipped to customers since 2014.
More than 368,000 vehicles were built here at the Leipzig plant, while the Regensburg factory was responsible for assembling the remaining vehicles. With the U06-gen model, BMW will be making its Mercedes B-Class competitor exclusively in Leipzig, likely only as a five-seater since there’s no word about the three-row Gran Tourer coming back.
Looking considerably sleeker than the minivan it replaces, the new 2 Series Active Tourer is the first modern BMW to do without the iDrive rotary knob inside the cabin. It’s also the first compact model from the German luxury brand to receive the latest operating system (iDrive 8) as well as the first car with combustion engines to get the new layout with side-by-side screens.
Although production has started, it won’t be going on sale in Germany until February 26, 2022. Initially, the family hauler will come with a choice of gasoline and diesel engines, with a couple of plug-in hybrid powertrains to join the lineup later that summer. The cream of the crop will be the 230xe Active Tourer with a combined output of 326 horsepower (240 kilowatts) and all-wheel drive.
Longer and wider than its predecessor, the revamped minivan aims to be significantly more practical with a cargo capacity varying from 470 to 1,455 liters as well as a 40:20:40-split-folding rear bench. The rear seats slide forward by as much as 13 centimeters and you get an electric tailgate as standard equipment, much like the dual-zone automatic climate control.
The new 2 Series Active Tourer has a lot going for it and represents a breath of fresh air from all the crossovers and SUVs that have invaded the market. It remains to be seen whether it will live up to the success of the previous generation, but it’s good to have an alternative to the compact X models as not all people are enamored with SUVs.