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RAY MASSEY: You can take selfies with the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Say Cheese! I just drove the second generation BMW compact SUV, the 2 Series Active Tourer with its interior camera that allows you to take and share ‘selfies’ on board.

For security reasons, the overhead camera can be activated by voice command with the command “Hey BMW, take a selfie”.

There will be two petrol and one diesel variant for the market launch this month, with two plug-in hybrids to follow in the summer.

Lookup: The 2 Series Active Tourer from BMW is back with a comprehensive overhaul

Built in Leipzig but with British three- and four-cylinder petrol engines from BMW’s factory in Coleshill near Birmingham, the car offers quality at lower SUV prices. The interior is modeled after the dashboard of the flagship iX electric off-roader, with a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and a 10.7-inch driver’s display behind curved glass.

The first generation has sold more than 430,000 units worldwide since 2014, 80 percent of them to new BMW owners, so a successor was certain, although BMW said: “The only thing shared with the previous model is its name.”

There are three trim levels – Sport, Luxury and MSport. The car starts at £30,265 for the base 170hp 220i mild hybrid 1.5-litre 3-cylinder Sport petrol engine, which accelerates from standstill to 100km/h in 8.1 seconds and reached a top speed of 137 km/h.

I drove the more powerful 218hp 2-litre 4-cylinder 223i mild hybrid top specification MSport Active Tourer from £32,715 which sprints from zero to 100km/h in 7 seconds and has a top speed of 150km /h reached.

The MSport trim adds adaptive suspension, heated sport seats, a hands-free tailgate and wireless charging.

There’s also a 2-litre four-cylinder 218d diesel from £31,820. Two plug-in hybrid, all-wheel-drive Active Tourer models – a 326hp 230e xDrive and a 245hp 225e xDrive – complement the summer lineup, adding an electric motor to the rear wheels and promising 48 miles of zero-emissions range .

Charging takes 2.5 hours on a fast charger. Longer, wider and higher than its predecessor, the models offer more knee room for the rear passengers and more head, shoulder and elbow room all round.

Although the car I drove started from £32,715, mine came loaded with extras and ran on larger 19-inch wheels (rather than the standard 17-inch and 18-inch option), so costing closer to £41,500 £.

These include: a technology pack with the lightning-fast interior camera, heated steering wheel, luxury instrument panel (£1,150.00); a comfort package with active and electric memory seats (£1,050.00); 19-inch BMW Individual multi-spoke alloys (£695.00); panoramic glass sunroof (£1,000.00); Solar Control Glass (£300.00) and Harman Kardon Surround Sound Audio (£600.00).

It’s certainly a sporty ride, especially in Sport mode (there’s also ‘Efficient’ and ‘Personal’), with plenty of dynamic stability and traction controls to keep you feeling confident and rooted to the tarmac, and a handy head-up display . It averages between 42.8 mph and 47.1 mpg and with CO2 emissions from 137 to 149 g/km.

The 48-volt electric motor integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission acts as a starter generator and power booster for the engine, delivering an additional 19 hp when moving off or accelerating. The energy is stored in a battery under the trunk and can be recharged when cruising or braking through recuperation.

The trunk has a capacity of 415 liters with the seats up and 1405 liters with the seats folded.

There’s plenty of high-tech “connectivity” out there, including for your smartphone.

An aluminum hood helps reduce weight. There are nine metallic and two non-metallic paint finishes to choose from, including a new Sparkling Copper Gray Metallic, and five interior trim options including aluminum hexacube and eucalyptus wood.

Does it fit in my garage? BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Model Drives: BMW 223i MSport Active Tourer

Price as driven: £41,490 (including extras)

Starting price 223i features: £32,715

Entry price 2er Active Tourer Range: £30,265

Length: 4386mm

Broad: 1824mm

Height: 1576mm

Wheelbase: 2670mm

Engine: 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine plus mild hybrid electric motor

Total Power: 218 horsepower (hp)

Transmission: 7-speed Steptronic dual-clutch automatic transmission

0-62mpg: 7 seconds

Top speed: 150km/h

MPG: 42.8-47.1mpg

CO2 emissions: 137-149g/km

trunk: 415 liters (seats up), 1405 liters (seats down)

Characteristics: Head-Up Display

Extras included on my car

Technology package: £1,150.00

(includes interior camera, heated steering wheel, luxury instrument panel)

Comfort package: £1,050.00

(includes active and power memory seats)

19 inch BMW Individual multi-spoke rims: £695.00

Panorama glass roof: £1,000.00

sun protection glass: £300.00

Harman Kardon Surround Sound Audio: £600.00

Options: 5 interior options including aluminum hexacube and eucalyptus wood

Responsibility at Mercedes for accidents involving self-driving cars

Mercedes-Benz has announced it will take legal responsibility for collisions in cars equipped with a Level 3 automated lane-keeping system – as is present in the new S-Class – if they are directly caused by a technology flaw, but not, if the driver fails to comply with their duty of care”.

Matthew Avery, chief research strategy officer at crash and safety testing experts Thatcham Research, said this was “another significant milestone on the journey to automated driving”.

The future is here:

The future is here: “The Mercedes announcement is another significant milestone on the road to automated driving”

But things become less easy when the driver doesn’t act — like refusing to take back control of a car when asked to do so.

With government funding, Thatcham is leading the development of a consumer safety rating to support automated driving systems.

It also worked with the Legal Commission on recommendations to update the Automated Vehicles Act.

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RAY MASSEY: You can take selfies with the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

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