We never thought we’d say this, but there’s about to be a luxury MPV battle, as the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will shape up in a sales race against the Mercedes-Benz B-Class.
The new 2 Series Active Tourer was revealed by BMW at the Geneva motor show last month, and BMW Australia product manager for 1 Series, 2 Series, 3 Series and 4 Series ranges, Christoph Priemel, said the new model will aim to satisfy customer demand for a more practical, wagon-like small car with a focus on practicality.
“First of all we would just look at our sales – what would be a logical expansion, where there’s a demand for what cars. I think probably for the 2 Series Active Tourer it will be a brilliant addition and [its] sporty attributes [will make it stand out] for that kind of car in that kind of segment,” Priemel said.
Its main rival, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class (above), has seen high levels of sales success in Australia. It sold 3248 units in 2013, ahead of the A-Class hatch (3218 sales) and BMW’s similarly sized X1 SUV (2108 units).
So the demand is evident, but one of the most common queries about the new model is why it wasn’t labelled as a 1 Series variant rather than boast the sports-oriented 2 Series badge. Priemel explained the nomenclature comes down mainly to its size.
“Historically you’ve got the even-number naming for more the two-door or coupe and convertible body styles – however, looking at how much space and versatility this car offers, it’s not that we have to stick with [the idea that] sporty is even numbers, in the sense of the two-door variants,” Priemel said.
“You can also obviously look at it from what would make more sense considering how much space over the 1 Series hatch in the interior, how much more versatility,” he said. “So it’s more like a logical concept with the name, to line it up more with the 2 Series [in terms of its size].”
The 2 Series Active Tourer will be the first car built by BMW to wear the Munich maker’s badge and feature a front-wheel-drive layout. A range of three- and four-cylinder engines are expected to be offered.
Priemel said the car will not disappoint keen drivers, suggesting it’s a “very sporty car to drive”.
The 2 Series Active Tourer is expected to launch in Australia late in the third quarter of this year, with pricing likely to start just below $40,000.