Geneva LIVE: 2015 BMW 2-Series Active Tourer

The first of many front-wheel drive BMWs has arrived.

BMW has officially unveiled the 2015 2-Series Active Tourer at the Geneva Motor Show. The new version of the 2 is the automaker's first-ever front-wheel drive vehicle.

Aimed squarely at the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, the 2-Series Active Tourer stretches 170 inches long, 70 inches wide and 61 inches tall, dimensions that make it roughly the same size as the Fiat 500L Living and the BMW X1. A slanted kidney grille, L-shaped headlights and a Hofmeister kink create a visual connection with other members of the BMW family but the rest of the design stands out from anything the automaker has done in the past.

Passengers travel in a spacious and well-lit cabin packed with the latest in-car technology and several storage bins that maximize the use of space. Staying in line with most current members of the BMW lineup, the 2 features a simple dashboard with a touch screen located on top of the center stack and an instrument cluster consisting of two easy-to-read analog gauges. A heads-up display is available as an option.

The 2-Series Active Tourer boasts 16.5 cubic feet of trunk space with five passengers on board. Up to 53.3 cubic feet can be obtained by folding the rear seatbacks flat into the floor.

In the United States, Active Tourer buyers will initially be asked to choose between the 218i and the 225i. The 218i is powered by a 136-horsepower 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine also found under the hood of the third-gen MINI, while the 225i features a 231-horsepower four-banger capable of sending the van from zero to 62 mph in 6.8 seconds.

Although buyers in Europe will be able to order low-spec models with a manual transmission, the only gearbox offered on these shores will be an automatic unit. All-wheel drive will almost certainly be offered as an option later in the production run.

BMW has ambitiously announced its goal to hybridize its entire lineup so the 2-Series hatch will likely gain a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain next year. A performance-focused M-badged variant is not believed to be in the works but buyers who want a sporty-looking van can get a wide array of aerodynamic add-ons by ordering the M Sport package.

The BMW 2-Series Active Tourer will land in showrooms across the United States as a 2015 model next fall. The van will initially launch as a five-seater and a larger seven-seater variant with a longer rear overhang and a taller greenhouse will quickly be added to the lineup.

Live images by Ronan Glon.

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