The BMW 225e Active Tourer features a plug-in hybrid powertrain with a 3-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor and battery providing up to 49 miles of electric range.
BMW has been rolling out an ever-increasing range of body styles, most of them SUVs or variations on SUVs. However the BMW 225e Active Tourer isn’t an SUV, and it aims to offer more interior space than a BMW X2 – along with the efficiency of a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The latest BMW 225e Active Tourer is based on a new architecture. The plug-in hybrid powertrain is also more efficient, but the principle remains that the electric motor powers the rear wheels, while a 3-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol engine drives the front wheels, through a seven-speed Steptronic dual-clutch transmission. This system delivers all-wheel drive.
The 225e Active Tourer has a 406-litre boot, which can increase to 1,370 litres with the rear seats folded down. The rear seat backrests can also be adjusted, giving up to 90 litres of extra boot space, and forward/backwards adjustment allows up to 13cm of travel.
The BMW 225e Active Tourer may not be a hot hatch, but with a 245 hp combined power output and 477 Nm of torque, performance is good, with a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 6.7 seconds. There’s even a ‘Boost’ function, activated by selecting the left steering wheel-mounted paddle, which also results in an accompanying sporty soundtrack.
The 109 hp electric motor powers the rear wheels and the 136 hp 3-cylinder, 1.5-litre petrol engine drives the front wheels, and combining the two gives all-wheel drive. So grip levels should be good, and ride quality is decent thanks to adaptive M suspension with mechanically controlled adjustable dampers being standard on M Sport models.
The 225e Active Tourer features the BMW Curved Display (a 10.25-inch information display and a control display of 10.7 inches) and BMW Operating System 8. There’s a range of ‘My Modes’ to choose from: Personal, Sport and Efficient, as well as Active, Expressive, Relaxed and Digital Art. These modes can activate specific settings for the powertrain and steering, the style of the readouts on the BMW Curved Display and the interior lighting, and different ‘Iconic Sounds’ soundtracks to accompany your driving. However it’s not that obvious what these different mode are, and one key thing you can’t control from these modes is whether the car is operating on petrol or electric; to do that you have to select the ‘Charging’ screen.
If satnav directions are on the touchscreen and you change the My Modes, you’re generally left with nothing on the touchscreen apart from a ‘My Mode’ graphic.
BMW’s iDrive, with the rotary controller and shortcut buttons between the two seats, has been the best solution to control a car’s infotainment system for years, and now BMW has ditched this in the 225e Active Tourer; instead you have to reach over for buttons on the touchscreen. There’s a very small home symbol in the top right-hand corner of the touchscreen.
Also gone are any physical buttons on the dashboard for heated seats or the steering wheel; you now have to go into the climate menu on the touchscreen for these, along with other climate controls.
For many years BMWs had brilliant dashboards, where all controls were exactly where you wanted them. In this latest 225e Active Tourer, many controls are hidden away, resulting in it being a challenge to control the car, especially keeping the car on electric or on petrol (there is a button to maintain battery charge, but it’s very hidden away). Even when you ask the BMW personal assistant how to drive on electric, she doesn’t know. The result is that the car drives on petrol for too much of the time – which is very bad for a plug-in hybrid. It’s even a challenge to find the miles per gallon read-out.
To manage the lane departure warning system, which wrestles the steering control out of your hands, you have to select a button with a car and three lines, which takes you to driver assistance settings.
The 225e Active Tourer has a head-up display, but this is a piece of plastic rather than information being projected onto the windscreen.
But the biggest issue with the 225e Active Tourer is the road noise – the car can be very noisy on certain motorway surfaces – something that we also found with the BMW X2.
The 2022/23 BMW 225e Active Tourer benefits from an increase in electric range, now up to 49 miles based on the WLTP cycle. This results in WLTP combined fuel economy of 403.5 mpg.
In real-world driving we experienced an electric range of 46 miles (and a 394-mile range for electric and petrol), however after a week of mixed driving (with 80% being long journeys) the average fuel economy was 43.3 mpg; well short of 403.5 mpg.
The BMW 225e M Sport Active Tourer costs £39,590. Standard features of the M Sport package include 18-inch Bi-colour alloy wheels, Adaptive M Sport suspension, Adaptive LED headlights, folding exterior mirrors, Sport seats with Alcantara/Sensatec upholstery, Luxury Instrument Panel, heated seats, Comfort Access, and wireless charging.
Our test car colour was Storm Bay (£595), taking the price to £40,185. On top of that our test car had options of Technology Plus Pack (£1,150), Comfort Pack (£1,050), 19″ Alloy Wheels (£695), Panoramic Glass Sunroof (£1,000), Luggage Net (£150) and Sun Protection Glass (£300); all options totalled £4,345, taking the total price to £44,585.
The BMW Active Tourer has two plug-in hybrid models, the 230e xDrive and the 225e xDrive, with three trim levels: Sport, Luxury and M Sport.
For many years our BMW reviews have celebrated how the brand’s cockpits have been designed to be amazingly functional, with controls for drive modes and hybrid system, for example, being perfectly-placed, within convenient reach on the centre console. And in an age when most manufacturers make the driver reach over to find buttons on the central touchscreen, even when driving at motorway speeds, BMW gave us the excellent iDrive system, with a controller and shortcut buttons, also in a brilliantly convenient location on the centre console.
All that has gone with the latest BMW Active Tourer. There’s no iDrive rotary controller, most car controls are hidden away in the touchscreen, and with the new ‘My Modes’, you have little control of whether the car is on petrol or electric. Instead these controls are hidden away, which is likely to have been a reason behind the 225e Active Tourer averaging 43.3 mpg in the real-world, rather than the official 403.5 mpg.
On the plus side, performance is decent, ride quality is comfortable, and the all-wheel drive system should offer good grip. However the car is let down by excessive road noise on many motorway surfaces.
The BMW 225e M Sport Active Tourer gains a Green Car Guide rating of 7/10.