Unlike BMW’s 2 series coupes, which are basically rebadged 1-series, the new 2 Series Active Tourer (2SAT) is not only the firm’s first front wheel drive model, but also the first to feature a three cylinder engine. Designed to set the groundwork for future front-wheel drive models, the 2 Series Active Tourer is set to shake up the crossover market in Europe and China.

This first attempt at front-wheel drive by BMW, which made its debut two years ago in concept form, actually shares many platform traits with Mini’s next-gen Countryman. Proportionally the car will be similarly sized to its Mini corporate cousin, but aesthetically the 2 Series Active Tourer emulates many other design traits from the wider crossover segment.

BMW’s signature grill resides at the front of an angular, stubby hood, framed by cabin and flank treatments reminiscent of a Kia, while higher seating positions and an expansive greenhouse are intended to provide a more open, naturally lit interior.

Capable of hauling a family of five, in basic form the Tourer features a 60/40 sliding rear bench, electric rear seats, BMW’s Active Guard collision system and the ability to switch between Eco Pro, Comfort and Sport driving modes. A 6-speed manual gearbox comes as standard, with a 6-speed automatic gearbox offered as an option.

Under the hood BMW will offer up three powertrain options. In the 218i model comes a turbocharged 1.5 liter 3-cylinder capable of generating 136 hp and 162 lb.ft of torque that BMW claims will propel the car from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.3 seconds. Top speed is limited to only 200 km/h (124 mph), which should be more than adequate in most scenarios.

In the sportier, performance-based 225i version, drivers receive a breathed upon 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that’s capable of putting down 231 hp and 258 lb.ft of torque to the crossover’s 18 inch sport wheels. In this model, an 8-speed automatic gearbox manages power to the front end which, when paired with the higher power output, delivers a 0 to100 km/h time of 6.8 seconds and a respectable top speed of 235 km/h (146 mph). The third powertrain option offered up is a turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel good for 150 hp and 243 lb.ft of torque.

Although probably not what many would consider to be a legitimate candidate for an M series badging, BMW is reporting the 2 Series Active Tourer will in fact be available in the automaker's performance trim. In addition to 18 inch M series alloy wheels, the M Sport 2SAT will come decked out with M door sill finishers, M shift knob, Dakota leathers, a multi-function steering wheel and sport suspension pack.

BMW’s 2 Series Active Tourer is due to be launched in Europe this September with other markets coming online closer to 2015.

Source: BMW