It’s easy to think that BMW has gone off the deep end. With models like the ugly 3 Series GT and seemingly redundant 4 Series Gran Coupe, the German automaker is branching out into every niche it can find, whether the resulting cars make sense or not.
It’s latest model would appear to be the craziest of them all. Based on the Concept Active Tourer that made the auto show rounds last year, the 2 Series Active Tourer is a tall-roofed hatchback, and the first BMW-badged vehicle with front-wheel drive.
That’s right, this is a front-wheel drive people carrier from the company that claims to build the “Ultimate Driving Machine”.
The Active Tourer is based on BMW’s new UKL platform, which also underpins the 2014 MINI Cooper. It goes without saying that this car has no relation to the rear-wheel drive 2 Series coupe, other than its place at the bottom of BMW’s lineup.
The car will launch in Europe with a range of turbocharged three- and four-cylinder engines.
The top 225i Active Tourer sports a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 231 horsepower. BMW says it will do 0 to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 146 mph.
The 218i Active Tourer will have a 1.5-liter triple, producing 136 horsepower. There will also be a four-cylinder diesel 218d.
Six-speed manual and automatic transmissions will be offered at launch, although it’s unclear which engine and transmission options will be available in the United States when the Active Tourer arrives here next year.
The 2 Series Active Tourer will also be offered with xDrive all-wheel drive, and an M Sport package featuring some styling enhancements, new wheels, and sportier interior trim.
There’s also plenty of technology in the form of the ConnectedDrive package. This includes safety features like camera-based adaptive cruise control, as well as smartphone apps like the concierge service and real-time traffic information. The Active Tourer also gets a head-up display, which BMW says is a class-first.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show next month, and go on sale in Europe later this year. It will arrive in the U.S. in 2015, which may or may not be good news for Bimmer fans.