Seven-seat BMW 2 Series makes its debut. Look away now BMW traditionalists as if the frontwheel drive Active Tourer didn’t float your boat the new seven-seater MPV, the 2 Series Gran Tourer, will be sure to upset you further. This is not a sector in which BMW has previously been represented but with its 2 Series Active Tourer and now the Gran Tourer it will now be able to appeal to customers to whom its more traditional line-up of two-door coupés, four-door saloons and five-door Tourings have limited appeal. The world, or more specifically the world of the 20- to 30-something family buyer, has fallen hook, line and sinker for the MPV as a convenient way of transporting the family, pets and associated detritus around the country and it was only a matter of time before BMW decided that it wanted a slice of the pie. There’s money in these vehicles and it would have been somewhat perverse if BMW hadn’t joined the party – it doesn’t seem to have done Mercedes any harm after all.
So, what do we have here with the Gran Tourer? It’s obviously closely associated with the Active Tourer… but bigger. We could just leave it at that but that would be selling it short and while the 2 Series ‘GT’ (the shortened moniker just seems so wrong on an MPV) won’t float everyone’s boat those who feel the need for this type of machine will no doubt want to know a little more. The Gran Tourer is 214mm longer than the Active Tourer, but at an overall length of 4556mm it’s still comfortably shorter (by 68mm) than a 3 Series Saloon F30. The Gran Tourer also has a longer wheelbase (by 110mm) than the Active Tourer so there really should be acres of rear seat legroom in there as we were hugely impressed by the amount of space in the AT. The Gran Tourer is also 53mm higher than its smaller sibling to ensure that there’s enough rear headroom for those in the third row of seats.
In the UK that seven-seat configuration will be a standard fitment (in other markets the third row of seats will be an option) and when not in use they fold flat into the boot floor. The load space can be extended or shortened as the middle row of seats can be slid fore or aft by 130mm and depending on configuration its load space will extend from 560 to 1820 litres while 40:20:40 split folding rear seats will ensure that awkward loads can be accommodated without adversely affecting passenger carry ability.
In the UK there will be five distinct models – two petrol and three diesel – and these will all use versions of BMW’s new three- and four-cylinder engines. In the UK the entry-level machine (in terms of price) will be the 218i that offers 136hp and 162lb ft of torque from its three-cylinder 1499cc engine with the promise of 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds, a top speed of 127mph and economy and emissions figures of 53.3mpg and 123g/km according to the official stats. The next model up is the £25,110 216d which is again powered by a three-cylinder engine, although this time drinking diesel. It has a capacity of 1496cc and offers 116hp and 199lb ft of torque and will be a more sedate performer taking a leisurely 11.4 seconds to reach 62mph and managing just 119mph flat out. It does hit back though with 68.9mpg and 108g/km – figures which should find it plenty of admirers. The F45 218d weighs in at £26,255 and if you look at the raw stats it looks like it would definitely be worth finding the additional £1145 over the 216d as not only do you get four-cylinders with the new B47 engine but you have 150hp and 243lb ft at your disposal which should be good for a 0-62mph time of 9.5 seconds and a 127mph top speed yet still have the capability of returning 64.2mpg on the combined cycle and 115g/km of CO².
The top dogs as far as price and performance are concerned are the 220i and the 220d xDrive F45. The former develops 192hp and 206lb ft while the latter (which will only be available as four-wheel drive with the eight-speed auto) delivers 190hp and 295lb ft. Both should be more sprightly performers offering sub eight-second 0-62mph times and top speeds in the high 130s. The petrol will return 44.8mpg while the diesel trumps that at 57.6mpg. Prices for the 2.0-litre badged models start at £27,490 for the 220i and £32,005 for the fourwheel drive diesel.
All models bar the 220d will come as standard equipped with the six-speed manual gearbox and as an option the two three-cylinder machines can be spec’d with a six-speed Steptronic gearbox while the 218d and 220i receive the eight-speed auto if you prefer the car to take care of swapping cogs. As you’d expect, all models benefit from the full range of BMW’s EfficientDynamics technologies along with the now familiar Driving Experience Control switch enabling you to select Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro modes depending on how fast you need to get to your destination. If the adjustable dampers are optioned then the same switch adjusts the suspension, too.
For the UK there will be the four familiar trim levels that you can order with most models – SE, Sport, Luxury and M Sport. All models come with seven seats, high-quality AM/FM radio, Bluetooth with audio streaming, iDrive, a 6.5-inch monitor, two-zone air-con, rear PDC and a multi-function steering wheel. Sport adds 17-inch alloys, sports seats and exterior detailing in High-gloss black. Luxury brings chrome and wood trim, leather upholstery and a different set of 17-inch alloys while M Sport brings the expected aerokit, Highgloss shadowline trim, leather sports seats, an M multi-function steering wheel, 18-inch alloys and a 10mm drop in suspension height. The 2 Series Gran Tourer will go on sale in the UK on 9 June and will cost from £24,175 for the 218i SE. The 2 Series Gran Tourer offers plenty of interior accomodation with flexible layouts.