First impressions of the BMW 2-Series AT

First impressions of the BMW 2-Series AT

The new BMW 2-Series Active Tourer is a brave new direction for the German luxury car manufacturer. From practical estates to performance saloons aimed at upcoming executives, stylish sports cars, domineering SUVs and the rather controversial uber-coupe version, we finally have the company's first people carrier.

It would not be 100% fair to refer to the 2-Series Active Tourer as an MPV, since it can only accommodate five passengers. We will reserve that accolade for the upcoming seven-seater to be released next year; in fact, the 2-Series AT only takes up a little bit more room on the road than the 1-Series.

That said, the 2-Series is the perfect car for older individuals and families, with slightly higher seating and a spacious interior - and, of course, it is fairly affordable.

In Britain the 2-Series AT range will only come with a choice of two engines when the car is launched in September this year: a 218d and a 218i. Luckily a wider selection of engines will be introduced in November.

The car comes with the same three-cylinder petrol engine BMW uses in the remarkable i8 hybrid and the Mini range. Here it pushes out 162lb ft of torque and 136bhp.

We had the opportunity to drive the 218d, which is a more traditional four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo-driven diesel. The car operates smoothly and develops its maximum torque at around 1,750rpm. The diesel version pushes out a quite satisfactory 150bhp at 4,000rpm, and under normal road conditions the vehicle is a real pleasure to drive.