Car ReviewsFirst Drive

2015 BMW 225i Active Tourer review

Mark Higgins’ first drive 2015 BMW 225i Active Tourer review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.

In a Nutshell : The 2 Series Active Tourer is a front-drive BMW that’s designed to be both practical and a punch in the eye of its arch-rival Mercedes-Benz and its B Class hatchback.

THE SUCCESS OF Mercedes-Benz and its B Class hatchback prompted the Bavarian carmaker to forgo a history of rear-drive only models and return serve with the 2 Series, its first front-drive car. We’ve spent the past week behind the wheel of the range-topping 225i Active Tourer and reckon its game on, against the Stuttgart sales stormer.

2015 BMW 225i Active Tourer review

The 225i Active Tourer will appeal to those wanting a prestigious badge, hatchback interior space and versatility with a higher entry point, seating position and raised view. Although that sounds like your typical ‘older’ buyer, there’s little doubt the 225i Active Tourer will find favour among families who would normally consider a compact SUV.

Despite the all-new shape it’s instantly recognisable as a BMW with the signature twin-kidney shaped chrome grille, fog lights mounted in the front spoiler, large LED headlights with in-built cornering lights and (on this model), rain sensors that activate the headlights. Side on, the 225i has a high belt line, body coloured exterior mirrors and door handles, four windows, a arching roof line, shark fin antenna and integrated roof spoiler. The wrap around rectangular tail lamps and tailgate look similar to that of the 3 Series wagon. Five twin-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels with 225/40/18 tyres add a dash of sportiness.

2015 BMW 225i Active Tourer review

The purpose of a front-drive car is, ultimately, the cabin packaging benefits it brings and BMW’s engineers have done a superb job of creating a light, spacious and comfortable interior. The sense of elegance was heightened with the Dakota cream leather perforated trim and matching cream carpet – although, from a practical standpoint, the colour probably wouldn’t be on my list if I was buying this car. Adding to the feeling of airiness was the cost-optional panoramic sunroof and the roof lining that was more like a full-length blind allowing plenty of light, but not heat into the cabin.

With four windows each side and large front and rear glass, the all around view is excellent and although the front pillars are quite thick, the small front porthole window, pretty much removes any blind spots.

2015 BMW 225i Active Tourer review

Behind the thick, leather trimmed three spoke steering wheel with shift paddles, cruise, audio and phone controls is the analogue instrument cluster, with easy-to-read dials for the speedo, tacho and fuel and a trip computer nestled in the middle.

The centrally mounted almost-nine-inch multi-media screen, which forms part of the cost-optional Professional Multimedia Package includes heads-up display, digital radio, and a superb Harman Kardon audio system plus the standard reversing camera and sat-nav. The centre dash fascia features the controls for the Audio and HVAC controls and the console has two cupholders, a storage cubby and control knob for the iDrive system.

2015 BMW 225i Active Tourer review

The seats are firm and up front, feature side bolsters. There is a manually adjustable under-thigh extension for the front seats, with all other adjustments being electric, but despite their firmness, they kept us free of aches and pains, even after one long trip. The rear 40/20/40 bench seat can be manually moved fore and aft for greater passenger/cargo flexibility and there are two ISOFIX child seat anchor points in the rear. Even with the seats up there’s a decent sized boot of 468 litres that grows to 1510 litres, plus an under floor, carpeted storage tub and plenty of storage cubbies throughout the interior as well as cup holders and bottle holders in the door pockets.

The electric tailgate (standard across the range) can be opened via the keyfob or driver door switch and the rear seat has an electric release to drop it down flat.

In the 225i Active Tourer there is a choice of three drive modes. Eco, Comfort and Sport. Eco and Eco and Comfort serve up gentle acceleration, ride and gearchanges. In ‘Sport’ everything sharpens up with quick fire gear changes at different rev points, more direct steering, a far stiffer ride, flatter cornering, resulting in more fun behind the wheel.

We found the ride of the adaptive shock absorber shod 2 Series Active Tourer overly firm in each of the three modes and even more so when Sport mode is selected. Road imperfections are heard and felt through the cabin most notably small shallow bumps. The handling for a relatively tall hatch was quite acceptable, cornering with a good degree of poise. The steering returned good feedback and the disc brakes had a solid, progressive feel.

2015 BMW 225i Active Tourer review

The 225i runs a 2.0-litre, twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder which produces 170kW at 4750rpm and 350Nm at 1250rpm. That’s a fair old dollop of grunt from just off idle which if you lean to heavily on the throttle from a standing start results in torque steer with the steering wheel tugging in your hands… take off smoothly and the 225i is smooth and settled. The eight-speed auto transmission delivers seamless changes and you can take manual control by using the steering-mounted shift paddles which, although they work well, will probably never, ever be used in a car like this.

BMW says the 225i will return 6.1L/100km (combined), however we could only manage a staggering 19.2L/100km and that included a good degree of freeway driving and using the stop-start engine system. Hmmm.

Like most BMW’s the 225i Active Tourer is a techno-fest and features cruise control with braking and speed limit functions, camera-based lane departure warning, approach control warning, pedestrian warning, and light city braking function. There’s also front and rear parking distance control.

2015 BMW 225i Active Tourer review

The range-topping 225i builds on the key features of the 218i and 218d and includes adjustable suspension, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, paddle-shift levers, leather trim and a Visibility Package that provides additional interior lighting and side mirrors with auto-dimming and auto-dipping functionality. Our test vehicle had a number of options fitted; aluminium roof rails, timber and chrome interior highlights, the multimedia package, comfort package, panorama sunroof, internet, connected drive and metallic paint added a further $10,192 to the $54,900 (+ORC) price tag.

The 2 Series gets BMW’s ConnectedDrive, which automatically transmits vehicle accident information and makes a telephone call for assistance to the BMW ConnectedDrive Call Centre. Emergency services are informed by the BMW ConnectedDrive Call Centre on behalf of the customer and deployed if required. Manual emergency call can also be initiated via the SOS button.

Safety features include six airbags, central locking with electronic immobiliser, crash sensor; fuel tank filler cap integrated into central locking system, dynamic braking lights, stability control, antilock brakes with brake assist, cornering brake control and traction control. As it hasn’t been tested the 2 Series doesn’t have an ANCAP safety rating.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Price From $54,900 (+ORC); $65,092 (as tested+ORC) Warranty three years, unlimited kilometres Safety Not Tested

 Engine 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol 
Power/Torque 170kW/350Nm
 Transmission eight-speed automatic 
Body 4342mm (L); 1800mm (W); 1555mm (H)
 Weight 1218kg
 Thirst 6.1L/100km (combined)

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Mark Higgins

Mark Higgins