Asian Carmakers Corporation, the official importer and distributor of the BMW luxury brand in the Philippines, flew 22 media practitioners to Negros island to #ExploreTheExceptional with the first-ever BMW 2 Series #ActiveTourer.
Launched in the country earlier this year, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is the brand’s entry to the popular Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) segment, and also marks the advent of BMW’s front-wheel drive offerings – something that was unheard of up until late. And, while the Active Tourer’s form factor embodies the form and function of an MPV, it still still retains the brands driving dynamics, and features distinct BMW design cues like its iconic double kidney grille flanked by twin LED headlights, and BMW’s signature Hofmeister kink found on the rear side windows.
Our journey started with a short flight to the City of Smiles where 6 brand new units were waiting for use just outside the arrival gates. In true BMW fashion, we were chauffeured to our first pit stop, the Autobahn BMW dealership, located in nearby Talisay City. ACC president Maricar Parco and siblings Alex and Kalene Roleda from the dealership welcomed our delegation, and together, we began our Negros experience (which involved a little bit of driving and a whole lot of eating).Three people were assigned per vehicle, and I was lucky to have TimeAttackManila’s Chris Kho, and veteran lens man Ardie Lopez as my car mates. The men basically took over the driving duties for the day, so I was free to appreciate the Active Tourer as both a front and rear passenger.While still basically a 5-door, 5-seater hatch, the Active Tourer’s raised roofline and lack of a rear differential gives it a roomier, more spacious cabin. Both the driver and front passenger’s seats have been raised to create more space at the rear, and the 40:20:40-folding rear seats allow for bigger and odd shaped luggage to be loaded inside the cabin. If I remember correctly, the boot was able to fit 4 medium-sized bags, plus other purchases we got along the way. Legroom was sufficient, and the seats were comfortable. The Ruins of what used to be Don Mariano Locsin’s grand mansion was next on our agenda. Being one of the must-see spots in Negros, ACC made sure we experienced the tour by resident guide (and YouTube sensation) Roger Lucero, which was full of interesting facts, injected with witty quips that has made him famous with visitors from all over.After a sumptuous lunch, we began our drive traversing the Negros South Road all the way to Kabankalan City, our designated rest stop and driver change. After a light snack and a quick stretch, we continued southward to our final destination for the day, the Punta Bulata Resort and Spa, in Cauayan, Negros Occidental.
The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer’s instrument panel and center console is pretty straight forward, with everything within reach, and nothing too complicated. The 6.5-inch LCD screen head unit is easy to navigate with BMW’s iDrive System once you get your eye and hand coordination down pat and stop touching the screen. We were happy to note that there were 12-volt power sockets both for front and rear passengers, as well as a USB port inside the center console to charge the many devices we brought along.Under the hood of the Active Tourer is a lightweight, 3-cylinder, 1.5-liter TwinPower turbo gasoline engine that produces 138Ps @ 4400rpm, and 220Nm of torque at 1250-4300rpm. It is mated with a 6-speed automatic with Steptronic transmission. While it is far for the most powerful engine in the brands portfolio, the engine is surprisingly zippy, and driving it still gives you an adrenaline rush. Traveling at a brisk pace, the Active Tourer made little work of overtaking on the highways as well as maneuvering the busy city.After a fun night of fellowship, followed by a restful sleep and a hearty breakfast, our group made its way back to the city to catch our plane back to Manila. Having taken the back seat the day before, it was finally my turn behind the wheel.Driving dynamics of the Active Tourer can literally be changed with a flick of the Drive Experience Control (DEC) switch. Depending on the situation, the driver can opt to use any of the three settings available: Comfort for a steady and comfortable ride; Sport for a more dynamic drive with stiffer steering and suspension, as well as maximized revs; and Eco Pro, which was designed to maximize fuel consumption by reducing throttle response.But don’t be misled by its MPV classification, as it is hardly a chunky people mover. The Active Tourer is a stylish hatch, with just enough room for work and play. It combines the brand’s premium styling and build, with amenities and features to suit modern families with active lifestyles. Optional accessories include a roof rack to accommodate more luggage and bike rigs to transport your favorite two-wheel velocipede.Our trip ended with yet another superb meal, this time at Bacolod’s 21 Restaurant. Known for its authentic Ilongo food and its killer Batchoy, it was a perfect end to our short but sweet trip to explore the exceptional that is Negros and the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 218i variant is currently available in all BMW dealerships the Philippines, and is priced at PHP 2.9M.