• 2 Series includes front-wheel drive, up to 228 horsepower
  • Sports minivan-like shape, roomy interior
  • Could come to the U.S. sometime next year

The cover has been officially pulled off the all-new 2015 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, and most people will be surprised to see it. That's because the 2 Series Active Tourer is no sports car or luxury sedan, but rather a front-wheel-drive, 5-seat hatchback aimed at families and urban drivers.

On the outside, the 2 Series Active Tourer is a radical departure from any previous BMW. While it still uses many traditional BMW cues, including the kink on the rear side windows and twin kidney grilles, the 2 Series Active Tourer takes on a minivan-like shape. There's a tall roof, a sloping front end and a rear lift gate to access the model's cargo area.

Inside, the 2 Series Active Tourer also boasts many typical BMW cues, such as the layout of the dashboard and the thick, 3-spoke steering wheel. But there's no denying that the light, airy cabin is designed for practicality, passenger space and cargo room over performance or sportiness.

But nowhere is the 2 Series Active Tourer's emphasis on practicality over sportiness clearer than under its hood. That's because the hatchback offers just three engines, with power ranging from just 134 horses (in the base-level 218i) to 228 hp in the top-end 225i. Admittedly, those numbers are for European models, so we'd expect to see a little more power should the Active Tourer reach the United States.

But no 2 Series Active Tourer will offer rear-wheel drive. All versions of the hatchback will come standard with front-wheel drive, though BMW says AWD is likely to join the range in the future. Still, that's probably the biggest departure of all from BMW, which has effectively built its reputation around sporty, rear- or all-wheel-drive vehicles.

The Active Tourer is likely to find a home with family shoppers who want a BMW and enjoy the hatchback's blend of practicality and luxury. We're not sure if that home will be in the U.S., as BMW has not yet confirmed whether it will sell the car stateside. But either way, we're excited to find out more about the Active Tourer when it makes its official debut at this year's Geneva Auto Show.

What it means to you: The 2015 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is a big departure for the brand, but it'll mean good things for shoppers interested in a luxury hatchback with a lot of practicality.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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