Here’s the new BMW for people who’ve always wanted one but not found quite the model to suit. The 2 Series Active Tourer is a significant departure from anything BMW has made until now, but one that should attract plenty of buyers.

It’s a spacious hatchback, known as a “premium compact” in industry-speak, with prices for four variants starting at $44,400 plus on-road charges and – ta-da! – front-wheel drive.

Which end drives the car should not matter materially to most buyers, especially brand newcomers, but the Active Tourer is BMW’s first front-drive design in an era when most cars have that space-saving layout.

More correctly, it’s the first with a BMW badge while under the skin it borrows the architecture of the hugely-successful sister brand Mini. And which brand started the front-drive revolution in 1959? The Mini.

Traditional rear-wheel drive imparts sporty roadholding that has been the essential DNA of BMW for decades. This new design has attracted plenty of interest. The maker claims the Active Tourer remains a true BMW and early expert reviews since the car’s recent Australian introduction have been almost universally good.

Space and versatility are at the heart of the Active Tourer. Although it’s a compact 4.34 metres outside, the interior provides seating for five adults and good luggage space, which can be increased by flat-folding the back seat.

Safety and economy matter for buyers in this urban-focused part of the car market and the 2 Series Active Tourer scores well on both.

Standard features include automatic operation of the headlights and windscreen wipers, a reversing camera, braking over-ride for the cruise control, lane-departure warning, automatic city emergency braking and automatically calling for emergency help after a crash.

For convenience, comfort and economy, expect automatic parking, an electric tailgate, automatic idle-stop engines, selectable driving modes and adaptive steering.

There are three twin-turbocharged petrol engines offering 100kW, 141kW or 170kW and a 110kW diesel. The diesel drinks just 4.2 litres of fuel per 100 kms, making it one of the thriftiest cars for sale in Australia.

This is a different BMW, to be sure, but its combination of compact exterior, roomy and versatile interior, economical engine choices and premium fit-out at a modest-for-BMW price means it’s likely to attract plenty of buyers to their first experience of the brand.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer Video

If you are interested in finding out more about the Active Tourer, you can register here for the exclusive VIP launch events at Brisbane BMW and Westside BMW.

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