Hello overhang. That was my first thought upon opening up the first photo release of the new 2 Series Active Tourer. Then there’s that belt-line making even the optional 18” wheels look tiny. Even thought they share the same platform, clearly BMW went in a different direction as compared to the new MINI. Where the F56 is just as low as the previous MINI, the new BMW 2AT is designed to be much more of a people mover.
And yet this is a BMW right? The front wheel drive is generally thought of as sacrilegious by enthusiasts but we’re not so sure we’re ready to condemn the car on that fact. First off we have yet to drive the new 2AT. But from our seat-time in the new F56 MINI (which this car is based on) we can imagine the 2AT may surprise quite a few of you.
The issue that I have is simply with the way the car looks. BMW has created a very tall, narrow front wheel drive car that is then saddled (stylistically) with having to comply with ever increasing European pedestrian crash standards. Add to the fact that the transversely mounted three and four cylinder engines are mounted out on the front axle (as opposed to RWD BMWs which have the engines generally located behind) and the designers suddenly have lots of strikes against them before they even began the process.
The results will take some time to get used to. This is not the little front wheel drive run-about that the F56 MINI is. And maybe that’s the point? BMW doesn’t want to overtly cannibalize MINI sales and these new vehicles seem to be taking a very different tact. Even the forthcoming MINI four door and Clubman models look to be quite a bit shorter than the new 2AT.
Where does that leave us? The BimmerFile stamp of approval is not anywhere near the 2 Series Active Tourer yet. But as much as we the BMW faithful hate the idea of a FWD Roundel badged hatchback, we have to give the engineers and designers behind the car the benefit of the doubt. We know that BMW has invested heavily in the UKL platform and everything that has gone into it. We also know that the first fruits of that labor, the 2014 MINI, is exceptional and quite a bit better than what came before it.
The 2AT may just be a fantastic front wheel drive four door hatch for small family and urban dwellers. Stocked with technology and luxury it will surely stand out in the market place. What we don’t know is if the 2AT will be a good BMW.