► BMW's first seven-seat people carrier
► Stretched Active Tourer gains third row
► Huge boot, three child seats abreast!
Here’s another BMW to rile Munich’s hardcore supporters: the new 2-series Gran Tourer - the company’s first seven-seater MPV, codenamed F46.
Unveiled today, the people carrier takes the 2-series Active Tourer and stretches it on the rack by 21cm, taking it all the way to 4556mm long. That’s a whisker bigger than the footprint of a Ford Grand C-Max.
Result? Three rows of seats for family duties and a whopping boot claimed to swallow 645 litres of baggage even with the back-row seats up. Pop the third row down, and that swells to 805 - or a cavernous 1905 litres with all the rear seats folded away.
Right. So the 2-series Gran Tourer is a great van…
Sounds like it. It’s all about practicality, with a standard sliding middle row bench that is purportedly able to carry three child seats abreast. Which, as any parent of toddlers will tell you, is a rare party trick in the family stakes.
Seatback-mounted tables, cubby holes galore, a new BMW miKIDIO app to stream films and child-friendly content into the back seats - it’s all there on the new BMW MPV.
Yes, yes. But is it still a BMW for keen mums and dads to drive?
Judging by our prior experience with the 2-series Active Tourer, it should be yes. While dyed-in-the-wool BMW fans may have been disgusted by the 2AT, it remains one of the sharpest steers in its class in our view. You just have to forget about the house extension over your shoulder and the fact that the front wheels are driven, not the rears.
This is another iteration of the BMW front-wheel drive component set, related to the new Mini’s and - eventually - the next generation of 1-series.
No surprises in the engineering department, then: there are five turbocharged engines with a choice of three- or four-cylinders (no straight sixes here), offering a mix of power outputs from 116bhp to 192bhp, depending on the needs of your right foot and bank balance.
And there’s also four-wheel drive ability: the 220d xDrive Gran Tourer is claimed to be the only model in its segment with seven seats and 4wd.
Should BMW be diverting into the likes of people carriers? Be sure to tell us in the comments below.