The minivan will live to see a second generation, complete with a FWD layout as evidenced by this prototype.
The 2 Series Active Tourer will go down in history as BMW’s first production model based on a front-wheel-drive platform. Since its launch about six years ago, the compact minivan has been followed by other FWD-based models, including the X1 and X2 crossovers, along with the 1 Series hatchback, 1 Series Sedan, and the 2 Series Gran Coupe.
While the prospects of a front-wheel-drive BMW minivan shocked enthusiasts when the car came out, the sales figures proved the company made the right move. 2016 was the 2 Series Active Tourer’s best year, with sales reaching 100,502 units if we include those of the seven-seat Gran Tourer model. Granted, they’ve been dropping ever since, with demand falling by almost half in 2019 when 55,874 minivans were sold, according to the numbers published by CarSalesBase.
That’s still enough to warrant a second generation of the family hauler, which has now been spotted undergoing winter testing in northern Europe to prepare for the fight with another posh German minivan, the Mercedes B-Class. The prototype’s front-wheel-drive nature is noticeable as we can see the test vehicle spinning its front wheels several times, but that’s an issue xDrive-equipped models won’t have.
While the Active Tourer will live to see a second generation, that’s not going to be the case with the seven-seat Gran Tourer model as BMW will discontinue the bigger version due to slow sales caused by the SUV craze. The surviving model will ride on the company’s FAAR platform used by the aforementioned 1 Series hatch and 2 Series GC from where the family car will adapt the interior to better suit a minivan. Its wheelbase might be stretched a bit for additional legroom closer to the Gran Tourer version, but that remains to be seen.
Even though the prototype is fully camouflaged, we’re getting the sense BMW’s design team has created a more visually appealing 2 Series Active Tourer. We notice the side mirrors are now positioned on the doors rather than at the base of the A-pillar, while the kidney grille appears to follow the trend by growing in size. The greenhouse has also been subjected to a few changes and the headlights have been given a sleeker shape.
All of the oily bits along should be carried over from its FAAR siblings, so look for BMW’s new minivan to start off with a three-cylinder 1.5-liter gasoline engine. The three-pot diesel will be discontinued by the company as keeping it alive by meeting stricter emissions regulations would be too costly. There will be a selection of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines shared with Mini models as well, along with quite possibly a new plug-in hybrid as a follow-up to the 225xe variant.
The 2 Series Active Tourer could be revealed later this year ahead of a sales start in 2021.