BMW 230e xDrive M

Sport Active Tourer

BMW 230e xDrive Active Tourer, 2023, side, action
BMW 230e xDrive Active Tourer, 2023, nose
BMW 230e xDrive Active Tourer, 2023, front
BMW 230e xDrive Active Tourer, 2023, side
BMW 230e xDrive Active Tourer, 2023, boot
BMW 230e xDrive Active Tourer, 2023, interior
BMW 230e xDrive Active Tourer, 2023, rear
BMW 230e xDrive Active Tourer, 2023, boot, maximum

DESPITE its rather frumpy looks, the Active Tourer has been a good product for BMW selling more than 430,000 of them - 80 per cent to first time buyers.

The good news is that the updated version is a little better-looking but also comes with all the plus points which made the first model so popular - acres of space, plenty of easy to use high-tech and a polished driving experience.

And, alongside the Mercedes B-class, it's the only other choice of MPV now available.

Launched in the UK in March 2022, the second-generation Active Tourer is 32mm longer, 24mm wider and 21mm taller.

While the wheelbase is unchanged at 2,670mm, its track widths have been increased by 25mm at the front and 26mm at the back, which have helped improve handling.

Obviously, this means increased headroom, shoulder room and elbow room in both rows of seats compared to its predecessor. Rear seat passengers also enjoy a noticeable increase in kneeroom over the previous model.

Boot capacity can be expanded from 495 to 1,370 litres. Automatic tailgate operation comes as standard, while Comfort Access adds hands-free opening and closing.

As before, the rear seats can recline - or move backwards and forwards. And they split 40:20:40 to aid cargo flexibility.

The interior has also been completely redesigned and impressively so. Taking its cues from the BMW iX, the BMW Curved Display - with its frameless glass surface angled towards the driver - brings a very modern highlight to the cabin.

It houses a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.7-inch central touchscreen, the latter running the brand's latest eighth generation iDrive infotainment system.

This middle monitor has swallowed up most of the previous model's switches and buttons and is much cleverer, with over-the-air software updates, wireless phone mirroring and more intuitive 'Hey BMW' voice control. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are integrated wirelessly as standard.

Presumably for the kids, there's also a new overhead interior camera which can be used by the car's occupants to take snapshots during the journey. Pictures can be shared by simply scanning a QR code in the control display with any smartphone connected to the car via Wi-Fi.

The electric motor acts on the rear wheels while a three-cylinder petrol engine drives the front wheels. With the aid of an intelligent powertrain management system, this results in all-wheel drive that delivers a combination of sportiness, stability and traction in all driving situations.

The petrol engine is a little gruff under acceleration but settles down to a nice hum on the motorway. Not that you'll notice it much due to unfortunate wind noise from the wing mirrors.

That said, it's a comfortable cruiser and, with its new, slick seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, is nippy and easy to drive around town.

Surprisingly, the Active Tourer also handles more sharply than you'd expect from looking at it when out in the wild. It's composed, turns into corners sweetly, and there's plenty of grip. This is aided by ‘near-actuator wheel slip limitation' which is supposed to maximise the car's agility.

This traction control system is integrated into the engine management and allows corrective inputs to be applied up to 10 times faster than in conventional systems, ensuring the best traction even on slippery roads and during acceleration.

The M Sport package introduces a distinctive front apron design, 18-inch bi-colour alloy wheels, adaptive M Sport suspension - though the car isn't lowered in Hybrid guise - adaptive LED headlights, folding exterior mirrors, Sport seats with Alcantara/Sensatec upholstery, heated seats, Comfort Access, and wireless charging.

This is backed by the largest selection of automated assistance functions ever offered in a compact BMW.

Cruise Control with brake function is fitted as standard. Front-collision warning and Lane Departure Warning are also standard, with the former now able to react to oncoming traffic.

Active Park Distance Control and a Reversing Assist Camera are standard. The latest version of the Parking Assistant is also standard and helps the driver to park in spaces parallel or perpendicular to the road. Instead of just using other vehicles to help it select a parking space, the system is now also able to use the kerb as a guide, making parking a cinch.

Maximum charging capacity is up from 3.7kW to 7.4kW, meaning that a full charge can be delivered in around 2.5 hours, or just under eight hours via a conventional household socket. Electric range is up to 52 miles based on the WLTP cycle.

Let's not worry too much about the 3139mpg it's claimed to achieve. Unless fully charged at all times, this is not going to happen, though most long-ish commutes can be completed on electric power.

Once the battery had run flat I still achieved a very reasonable 48.7mpg.

FAST FACTS

BMW 230e xDrive M Sport Active Tourer

Price:£47,680

Mechanical:322bhp, 1,499cc, petrol-electric engine driving all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:127mph

0-62mph:5.3 seconds

Combined MPG:313.9mpg

Insurance Group:33

C02 emissions:16g/km

Bik rating: 8%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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