car tests

Review – BMW 230e Active Tourer (2023): MPV with 326 hp!

June 2, 2023

We are at the traffic light, a dead straight road in front of us and next to us a Volkswagen Golf GTI. The driver of the Golf does not pay a second’s attention to our BMW 230e Active Tourer. After all, in his eyes, such a “dull” MPV is not a worthy opponent. For us, this is an excellent time to take a look at what the 230th has to offer. We put it in Sport mode and held down the Sport Boost button to fully engage the maximum power of 326 hp. Left foot on the brake, right foot on the gas and… GREEN! Brake off and the 230th shoots off like an arrow. The Gulf is nowhere at all. In 5.7 seconds, 100 km/h is on the clock, time to let off the gas again. Moments later, we run into the Gulf driver again, who looks at us in disbelief. We also look at him somewhat surprised: this is downright spectacular for an MPV!

BMW 230e Active Tourer (2023) – Hot-hatch killer?! – REVIEW – AutoRAI TV

Watch first, then read? Check out our video review of the BMW 230e Active Tourer!

A spacious BMW i8?

First, a quick look at the powertrain of the BMW 230e Active Tourer. As the “e” in the type designation indicates, we are dealing here with a plug-in hybrid. The combustion engine is a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo with 150 hp and 230 Nm; the electric motor has a maximum output of 176 hp and 247 Nm of torque. This brings the system output to 326 hp and 477 Nm. It would be a bit much of a stretch to unleash this stormy power only on the poor front wheels. Therefore, the 230e Active Tourer always has xDrive all-wheel drive to manage power delivery.

We previously encountered the combination of a 1.5-liter three-cylinder and an electric motor in the BMW i8. At 326 hp, the 230e Active Tourer comes pretty close to that sportier’s 374 hp. We just experienced firsthand that that 326 hp makes for spectacular performance: the sprint to 100 km/h is squeaked by in 5.7 seconds. In terms of top speed, the 230e Active Tourer is somewhat less spectacular at 205 mph.

Practical consumption and range BMW 230e Active Tourer

That performance is a nice bonus, of course, but you also buy a plug-in hybrid to be able to drive more economically than with just an internal combustion engine on board. Fortunately, the BMW 230e Active Tourer scores well on that front. The bottom of the car houses a battery with a net capacity of 14.9 kWh. With this you should be able to achieve a range of 80 kilometers, according to BMW. We are getting pretty close to that. In practice, the electric range of the 230e comes out to about 70 kilometers. In our case, more than enough to make the commute all-electric. That depressed the final practical consumption quite a bit. After a week of testing and frequent charging, we arrived at a practical consumption of 2.2 liters per 100 kilometers.

Tastes differ

Then the appearance of the new generation 2-Series Active Tourer. With the introduction of the first generation, purists say BMW took a questionable turn. It was the first BMW with front-wheel drive and also an MPV, a vehicle category that does not immediately evoke the association with “Freude am Fahren. Business-wise, it turned out not to be a bad move, as the 2 Series Active Tourer is selling well. As such, the second generation mainly builds on the first in terms of appearance. Immediately catching the eye is the large kidney grille, which is almost as large as that of the 7 Series. In terms of silhouette, little changed, other than the slightly sharper window line. At the rear, the wide LED taillights and diffuser of our specimen stand out. The latter element is part of the M Sport Package, which makes the 2 Series Active Tourer look sportier.

Interior and interior space BMW 230e Active Tourer

Inside the 2 Series Active Tourer, you sit a bit higher than in many a BMW. Because of that higher seating position, visibility is good. Otherwise, the interior is similar in design to that of the new BMW X1. The new iDrive 8, consisting of two connected screens, occupies a prominent place, and the central iDrive controller had to make way. Touchscreen operation is quick, but – especially if you’re used to the previous version of iDrive – takes some getting used to.

In terms of storage space, the 2 Series Active Tourer scores well. Under the floating center console you have plenty of room to store larger items, and the center storage compartment is a good place to put smaller items. In the back, adults have plenty of legroom, but headroom is a bit disappointing. This is due to the large panoramic glass roof, which takes away some headroom, especially on the side.

Normally a plug-in hybrid is a lot less roomy in the luggage compartment than cars without the extra battery, but in the case of the 2 Series Active Tourer, that difference is not very noticeable. Indeed, the luggage space of the 230e Active Tourer is 406 liters, compared to 415 liters for the fuel-only versions. Folding down the rear seats creates quite a bit more space, but unfortunately folding down the rear seats is not as practical. Before that with three cords to flatten each seat individually, while the 3 Series Touring has two buttons in the trunk that allow you to fold down the rear seats in one motion. Especially for a car with a practical nature, it could be better.


The 230e Active Tourer goes extremely fast straight ahead, but how does it drive otherwise? Thanks to xDrive all-wheel drive, you always have grip, but you clearly notice that the 2 Series Active Tourer is geared toward comfort. The M Sport package on our test car does little to change that. You can corner pretty hard with the MPV, but you still feel it tilts a bit more than, say, a 1-series. The steering is direct, but very light and somewhat distant even in sport mode. That makes the 2 Series Active Tourer not exactly inviting for sporty driving. Therefore, apart from that one sprint against the Golf, we spent the rest of the test period driving the car mostly quietly. That actually fits the target market of MPVs again, as those people are generally not looking for a distinctly dynamic car.

Conclusion BMW 230e Active Tourer

After a week with the BMW 230e Active Tourer, we are especially surprised in a positive sense by the plug-in hybrid powertrain. When you charge it consistently, you have a more than adequate electric range, economical practical consumption and a hefty tank of power. Furthermore, the 230e Active Tourer offers the typical advantages of an MPV: higher entry, good overview and more interior space than a hatchback. For that you have to sacrifice a bit in terms of driving dynamics, but for that BMW has other cars in its lineup. In short, the MPV is not dead yet, long live the MPV!