BMW unveils the 2-Series xDrive Active Tourer

Article by Christian A., on December 4, 2014

BMW has unveiled the 2 Series Active Tourer xDrive – the latest iteration of the model that features with the intelligent four-wheel drive system BMW xDrive. BMW first used the xDrive in the BMW X3 and the X5 around a decade ago and is now making the four-wheel drive system available in a number of models and series.

This system does not only better traction and stability but is also always aligned to each vehicle concept, thus paving way to high degree of functionality and improved cornering dynamics as well as keeping the fuel consumption and emission levels of four-wheel drive vehicles as low as possible.

The 2 Series Active Tourer is the latest example of model-specific alignment of the four-wheel drive system. But unlike previous variants, BMW xDrive for the first time is grounded on a front-wheel drive concept with transversally installed engines.

The Active Tourer is available with a new range of modularly constructed three- and four-cylinder engines – featuring state-of-the-art TwinPower Turbo technology – provides dynamic driving while returning outstanding efficiency.

New 2-Series variants laden with xDrive technology include the BMW 225i xDrive Active Tourer with combined fuel consumption figure of 6.5-6.4 l/100 km and combined carbon dioxide emission number of 152-148 g/km; and the the BMW 220d xDrive Active Tourer with combined fuel consumption figure of 4.8-4.6 l/100km and combined carbon dioxide emission rate of 127-122 g/km.

Both models feature BMW xDrive as standard with engines mated with the 8-speed Steptronic gearbox.

BMW revealed that during the launch of the 2-Series Active Tourer, it will also be giving customers the chance to choose among three fuel-efficient and powerful three-cylinder and four-cylinder drive units. These light drive units are to become part of the brand’s new generation of engines. In addition to having a compact design, the engines have been positioned in a transverse manner.

Not only do the engines come with the brand’s very own TwinPower Turbo technology but they also comply with emissions standards set by EU6. One of the drive units that stand out is the three-cylinder petrol-powered engine that displays exceptional performance and great efficiency. BMW said that this advanced powerplant will be making its official debut being fitted in the 218i Active Tourer. Fuel consumption for the urban setting is rated to be 46.3 mpg (6.1 1/100 km) with extra-urban measured at 67.2 mpg (4.2 1/100 km). Combined meanwhile is found out to be 57.6 mpg (4.9 1/100 km).

When paired to the manual six-speed gearbox, its combined CO2 emissions are at 115 g/km. With a 1.5-liter displacement, the engine can deliver output at 136 hp (100 kW). Not only that, this engine manages to excel as well due to that excellent appetite for revs, the high pulling power, and the instant throttle response. In terms of design, the three-cylinder units are able to avoid any first-order, and even second-order, inertia forces. Since a balancer shaft is included, it allows for smoother operation across the whole rev range.

The top of these engines though would have to be the four-cylinder which increases the standard in the segment when it comes to dynamic performance. Equipped inside the BMW 225i Active Tourer, power is measured at 231 hp (170 kW). With maximum speed of 146 mph (235 km/h), it can go from standstill to 62 mph (100 km) in 6.8 seconds. Fuel consumption for urban is at 37.1 mpg (7.6 1/100 km) with extra-urban rated at 56.5 mpg (5.0 1/100 km). Combined on the other hand is set at 47 mpg (6.0 1/100 km). CO2 emissions are at 139 g/km.

Press Release

Drive technology featured in the new BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Since the premiere of the first four-wheel drive BMW 325i in 1985, BMW has consistently expanded its four-wheel drive competence with new models and constant further development in the field of drive technology. One of the milestones is undoubtedly the intelligent four-wheel drive system BMW xDrive, which was first used in the BMW X3 and the X5 in 2004 and is now available for numerous models and series. Even at that time, engineers did not focus solely on improving traction and vehicle stability. In addition to a high degree of functionality and enhanced cornering dynamics, the minimisation of system-related losses and constant weight reduction are top priorities set to keep the fuel consumption and emission levels of four-wheel drive vehicles as low as possible. To this end, the intelligent four-wheel drive system BMW xDrive is always aligned to each vehicle concept (Sedan/Coupe, SAV, SAC) with the aim of implementing the optimum solution.
Premiere: BMW xDrive complements front-wheel drive concept.

The latest example of model-specific alignment of the four-wheel drive system is provided by the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. The fundamental difference to previous variants is that, for the first time, BMW xDrive is premised on a front-wheel drive concept with transversally installed engines. The Active Tourer has already proven that front-wheel drive technology fully meets the brand’s demands in terms of driving dynamics. This is largely owed to the new range of modularly constructed three- and four-cylinder engines which, thanks to state-of-the-art TwinPower Turbo technology, excel to an equal extent through high performance characteristics and outstanding efficiency. With the BMW 225i xDrive Active Tourer (fuel consumption combined: 6,5–6,4 l/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 152-148 g/km)* and the BMW 220d xDrive Active Tourer (fuel consumption combined: 4,8-4,6 l/100km; CO2 emissions combined: 127-122 g/km)*, the intelligent four-wheel drive system is now available for top-of-the-range power units to further improve traction, vehicle stability and cornering dynamics, with the aim of enhancing safety and driving pleasure. Both models feature BMW xDrive as standard in combination with the 8-speed Steptronic transmission.

Slender, lightweight four-wheel architecture

The slender architecture featuring compact, lightweight components and the resulting low amount of space required by the new four-wheel drive system are excellently suited to the concept of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. Thus the additional weight of the entire four-wheel drive technology is only around 61 kg. Furthermore, measures for reducing system-related losses and an energy-efficient operating strategy ensure extremely favourable fuel consumption and emission levels.

Power from the front drive to the rear axle is transferred by means of an angular gear (Power Take-Off) on the front differential and a two-part cardan shaft. The central component of the four-wheel drive system is an electro-hydraulically controlled multiple-disk clutch (Hang-On) inside the rear axle drive, which facilitates infinitely variable distribution of torque to the front and rear wheels. The corresponding commands are provided by an electronic control unit which, like the hydraulic pump, is located on the rear axle.

Power Take-Off: angular gear and two-part cardan shaft.

The angular gear is mounted behind the engine on the automatic transmission and crankcase. The input shaft is a hollow shaft construction and directly connected to the front axle differential. In this way, part of the drive force is transferred from the differential basket to the cardan shaft via the hollow shaft, the crown wheel and the pinion shaft. The angular gear operates at a fixed gear ratio (1:1.74) and is permanently engaged, meaning that the cardan shaft always rotates when the vehicle is driven. Reversal of transmission takes place in the rear axle drive so that the front and rear axle drive shafts both rotate at exactly the same speed.

Hang-On: electro-hydraulically controlled multiple-disk clutch.

The multiple-disk clutch located in the rear axle drive (Hang-On) directs a proportion of torque to the rear wheels according to each driving situation, thus ensuring variable power distribution between the front and rear axle as required. In extreme cases (e.g. the front wheels are standing on ice), the ratio can be 0:100. The required operating pressure (0 to 40 bar) is delivered by an electro-hydraulic pump, the speed of which is defined by a pulse-width-modulated signal from the electronic control unit. Pressure is not measured by a sensor, but extremely accurately by means of voltage and power alignment. In order to ensure maximum positioning accuracy, run-in behaviour and temperature influences are independently compensated, the system constantly adapting to ever changing operating conditions.

Efficient valve helps reduce fuel consumption.

Moreover, xDrive utilises an energy-efficient operating strategy: When four-wheel drive is not required – which is usually the case in day-to-day operation – the pump is deactivated, rendering the system unpressurised. The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is then driven only via the front wheels. In order to make use of additional saving potentials, BMW has provided the multiple-disk clutch with a spring-loaded Efficient valve, which lowers the oil level in the clutch and significantly reduces friction losses (oil splash losses). When required, the system takes only fractions of a second to build up maximum operating pressure in the Efficient mode and thus deliver maximum torque to the rear wheels. This intervention goes unnoticed by the driver and passengers and without any losses in traction.

Intelligent networking: fast, precise and proactive.

In order to guarantee efficient and constant power distribution to the front and rear axle as required, the four-wheel drive system is managed from the control unit of the Dynamic Stability Control feature (DSC). In order to analyse each driving situation, DSC analyses a large amount of data providing information on each respective running condition and ensuring optimum distribution of drive torque. This information includes vehicle speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering angle, wheel speed, longitudinal inclination, accelerator position and the setup via Driving Experience Control. Furthermore, the DSC status, including Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC) and Performance Control is taken into account. Adjustment of the four-wheel drive system to the ever changing driving and road conditions is performed – in typical BMW xDrive manner – within fractions of a second, thus guaranteeing consistently neutral and safe handling even in difficult conditions. Nevertheless, the variable distribution of power between the two axles goes virtually unnoticed by the driver. Also, within the framework of the efficient operating strategy, torque distribution is precisely regulated as to avoid any loss of power due to wheel spin.

BMW xDrive: maximum traction, enhanced cornering dynamics.

Thanks to DSC networking, any imminent wheel slip for example can be detected at an early stage. Through precise distribution of drive torque this situation can be anticipated and avoided. If for instance the vehicle threatens to drift outwards over the front wheels, increased tractive force is supplied to the rear axle, allowing the vehicle to turn in more accurately. On the other hand, xDrive directs excess force to the front wheels, should the rear of the vehicle threaten to swerve outwards. As a result, maximum four-wheel performance is available even before slippage occurs. Therefore, xDrive featured in the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer not only ensures best possible traction and safety in adverse road conditions, but also enhances vehicle stability, cornering dynamics and ride comfort. In driving situations where the interconnection of all four wheels is disadvantageous – i.e. in an emergency stop – the system opens the multiple-disk clutch completely within milliseconds.

Only if optimum power distribution to the front and rear axle is not sufficient to keep the Active Tourer on the desired course, DSC intervenes by reducing engine output and/or by decelerating individual wheels. Moreover, DSC assumes the function of a transverse differential lock: If a wheel spins without transferring power, it is automatically slowed down, whereby the axle differential directs more power to the wheel opposite.

* Fuel consumption figures were calculated on the basis of the ECE test cycle, depending on tyre format.

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