BLUE SKIES and warm sunny days may seem a long way off, but BMW’s new 2-series Gran Tourer seven-seater will be on sale in time for the summer glamping season – and offers the possibility of choosing a four-wheel drive version for escaping into the wild.
To the casual observer, it looks like an MPV, better known as a people carrier, but such a humdrum description sends shivers down the spine of BMW’s marketing people; instead, it is known as a Gran Tourer, presumably an attempt to conjure up visions of glamorous white-washed destinations with gentle sea breezes and cocktails on the beach, rather than travel-sick children who want to know, for the hundredth time, when they’ll arrive at the grandparents’.
The new seven seat car comes with a choice of five engines, starting with a 218i, a petrol thee-cylinder 1.5-litre engine with 134bhp that’s shared with the Mini Cooper, which costs from £24,175. The most affordable diesel is the 216d, a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbodiesel which offers 114bhp and costs from £25,110.
With most buyers of family cars more concerned by the fuel consumption and associated running costs than whether they can take corners like a Ferrari, it is pertinent to note that the 218i returns 53.3mpg on the combined fuel consumption cycle, and the 216d manages 68.9mpg.
However, if camping in the wilderness is on the agenda for the summer holidays, then the 220d xDrive Gran Tourer could be just the thing for a spot of escapism.
The £32,005 flagship version features a powerful, 187bhp 2-litre four-cylinder engine which is paired with a four-wheel drive system – a rarity for any seven seat people carrier. It means the car offers a degree of go-anywhere, do-anything appeal, yet can still achieve as much as 57.6mpg.
The 2-series Gran Turismo is considerably longer than the 2-series Active Tourer that it is based on, in much the same way the the likes of Ford and Renault offer “Grand” versions of their people carriers. All models comes with seven seats as standard, and there is a 560-litre boot with all seven seats in use – surprisingly large for the class – which increases to 645-litres when the third row of seats are folded into the floor, enough for the camping equipment and plenty more besides.
BMW 220d xDrive Gran Tourer
Price: from £32,005
Engine: 1995cc, four-cylinder turbodiesel
Torque: 295Ib ft
Top speed: 135mph
Fuel consumption: 57.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 129 g/km
On sale: June