You could steer it with little more than your little finger.
Not for a minute am I advocating that you should; just saying that you could.
Such is the agility of the handling of the zippy new BMW 2 Series ‘Active Tourer’ 220i, that driving it is an absolute breeze.
But the deftness of steering forms only part of the story, for this is a compact hatchback-cum-MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) with real punch.
Just one of those cars that befriends you from the get-go. You know you’re going to like it when you ease in and you like it more when you ease out.
The latest version of this long-time BMW favourite has just hit the road, initially available with a range of petrol and diesel engine options, with a plug-in hybrid powertrain set to join the range later in the year. All models are fitted with an automatic gearbox.
Global reviewers rate it as far as ‘exceptional’ - and, given the ruthlessness of the ultra-critical motor media, I reckon that’s pretty damned good.
But forget the so-called experts; what is it that we (that’s you and I dear reader) actually look for in a motor?
Comfort and practicality? Goes without saying.
Technology and connectivity? Absolutely.
Design and dynamics? Well, if you’re offering, then plenty please.
So, let’s take the above trio in order…
• Comfort comes as an absolute guarantee and you can throw in a Harman/Kardon sound system, heated front seats, Alcantara/Sensatec upholstery with contrast stitching, Active Guard Plus with city braking and speed limitation, ambient lighting and a leather steering wheel.
• Outstanding technology with renowned BMW live cockpit professional including fully digital, curved 10.25" instrument display with a 10.70" control touch, BMW operating system 8.0, intelligent personal assistant with personalised user account options and in-car 4G LTE connectivity. The BMW ‘Connected Package Pro’ highlights real-time traffic information, remote services and connected parking.
• Great design features with 18" double-spoke, bi-colour alloy wheels, LED headlights, aluminium hexacube dark interior trim, sports steering, door sill finishers with inserted aluminium, adaptive suspension, kidney grille in chrome with satinised aluminium struts.
It’s chunky in appearance (not in any way a negative), very roomy and well-appointed, with an infotainment widely considered best in class.
Nobody does infotainment better than BMW and this is no exception. The fabulous touchscreen has built-in sat-nav, DAB radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. It’s the same as the system fitted to the popular iX, with the same pin-sharp graphics and a near-instant reaction to all your prods and swipes.
The positioning of the screen and the well laid out menus (inspired by smartphone displays) allow you to make quick adjustments.
Extra comfort comes via voice control and you’ll find buttons that control most aspects of the infotainment system right there on the steering wheel.
The interior – like the overall build quality – is little short of superb. Sturdy and reliable and comfortable over either short or long journeys, just as you would expect from a manufacturer of this stature.
Is it a family car? Most definitely. Capable of carrying numerous passengers without any compromise on cabin quality or performance.
If you prefer to enjoy the finer things in life, including a car that drives with genuine panache, then this particular BMW will not disappoint.
So what about the all-important stats?
Well, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer offers up 326 hp, zips from 0-62mph in around 7 seconds and knocks out around 58 mpg; with a very generous luggage space of up to 1,455 litres.
A car for every man and woman and his/her family.
Contemporary in design with a supreme level of technical comfort it’s particularly suited for those with an active lifestyle.
For a car you could steer with your little finger … definitely the thumbs-up from me.
Written by Paul Agnew, Photography by Andy Tighe