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BMW has facelifted its least interesting cars

Ooh. New headlights for some Ultimate Driving MPVs

The BMWs you’d forgotten existed have awoken from their mid-life surgery. Yep, it’s the Active Tourer and Gran Tourer versions of the 2 Series: a name which BMW persists with despite these front-drive people-carriers having about as much to do with the superb M2 as an elderly pet hamster has to do with an offshore powerboat.

For 2018, you’re being treated to even bigger kidney grilles – visual shorthand for “yes, it really is a BMW, honest” – plus reprofiled bumpers and tweaked graphics in the LED headlights and taillights. All four-pot diesel 2s now get twin tailpipes, with a larger diameter and thicker walls, because schportiness. Oh, and bigger wheels. There’s even a new shade of beige paint. And an orange hue, too. 

Inside, marvel at the longer seat cushions. Finished? Good. Under the metalwork you’ll find a new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as an option besides the already brilliant eight-speed automatic. Engine tweaks have liberated an extra 7bhp from the three-pot petrols, there’s better heat management to save fuel and the crankshafts now weigh 1.1kg less. Shockingly, BMW hasn’t deemed this weight-saving regime worthy of a ‘CS’ badge. 

Prices start at £25,840 for a basic 216d (the horror), and if you want the most potent seven-seat version – the 220i Gran Tourer, ladies and gents – then BMW will happily relieve you of £31,435. Or perhaps you’d like a plug-in hybrid with a meaningless badge. Enter the 225xe, which costs £34,485 but will make company fleet managers very happy indeed. 

While the 2 Series Tourers hold about as much appeal to petrolheads as a parking fine taped to their windscreen, they’ve been a worthwhile kick in the ego-nads for BMW. It’s shifted 380,000 units worldwide since 2014, with China, Germany and the UK top of the charts. 

Plus, with over 80 per cent of buyers jumping ship from other MPV brands, it’s great news for BMW’s coffers and a foot on the throat of the likes of Renault, Vauxhall and Ford. Hopefully, it’ll pay for an M2 CS and M2 CSL rather soon – and BMW’s range will indeed have something for everyone.

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