The BMW Active Tourer is expensive – and let’s face it, the MPV will still be trashed by your kids


I can think of more versatile MPVs than the Active Tourer but few are as well screwed together. This is, after all, a school run-mobile and will therefore be treated to a severe battering of sticky fingers and muddy feet.

My assorted step-children had a habit of taking a crayon to the fold down tables in a Renault Espace. They would press sweet wrappers into every nook and cranny. Back seat magazine pockets were really designed to be rubbish bins.

Whether you are prepared to pay £35k for the hybrid Active Tourer and then see it trashed, slowly, slowly over many months, is up to you!

I think I might be tempted to opt for the cheaper VW Golf SV diesel instead and bank the money I save. Even if I do then have to pay the London Congestion Charge…


Most BMWs are fun drives – the Active Tourer 225xe has missed out somewhere…


Clarkson described the new Fiat 124 Spyder as ‘an elephant on a unicycle’ in today’s Sunday Times. Basing the larger bodyshell of the Fiat on the smaller Mazda MX-5 chassis just ruined a great sports car.

There’s something of that about the Active Tourer. Underneath that bland MPV is a BMW 2 Series – the same basic platform that hosts the rather brilliant M2.

This is hard to comprehend as the one pleasure missing from the 225xe is the joy of driving. Despite a nippy 0-60mph time of 6.7 seconds and all the inherent sportiness of BMW in general, it really sucks.

Dad or mum aren’t going to get many thrills after doing the school run. The hybrid technolog is great to boast about at dinner parties but really, the xe needs an injection of ‘fun’ to merit the price tag…

The BMW 225xe is a class act – even at the price


Don’t ask me why but I feel like I’ve driven the future today. The BMW 225xe is an unremarkable looking car – quite possibly the dullest Beemer that I’ve seen in years.

Yet beneath that MPV exterior is a technology packed drivetrain that does just about everything. Four-wheel drive, hybrid technology, slick auto gearbox, oh, and it’s front-wheel drive unlike most BMWs. Which means you won’t get stuck in snow, like most BMWs.

There are petrol and diesel versions too. The hybrid is going to cost you around £3,000 more than the equivalent petrol but if you keep the battery charged and use it around town, the xe won’t use any petrol at all.

It may be small and expensive at £35k but it feel like a classy car. And there’s so much technology going on – I like it!

The smallest BMW hybrid is the 225xe. And the technology is amazing


Unfortunately for BMW, the 2-series arrives after a Jaguar F-Type Coupe and before a Lamborghini Huracan. The lifeless styling of this five-door hatchback leaves me cold but it should be refreshing to drive something with so much technology on board.

The BMW hybrid range now includes some cracking cars, like the 740e and 330e. The 225, I suspect, will be less of a driver’s car but still hugely competent as an everyday family motor.

And the best bit of all is that unlike some of the opposition, the 225 charges really fast – around three-and-a-quarter hours from a standard house socket. That’s mighty impressive.

It means you can play with the three, driver-selectable electric modes that give the car up to 24 miles of silent motoring via the battery.

Ultra low emissions and nippy performance (0-60mph in 6.7 seconds) mean the Active Tourer has plenty going for it…

Are V8s like the BMW M6 about to follow the dinosaurs into extinction?


Some people think the age of big-engined, normally aspirated V8s is coming to an end. Even Porsche is going small turbo instead – are car’s like our BMW M6 the last of the dinosaurs?

Well, I for one hope not. I’m reminded of that wonderful piece-to-camera Clarkson did with the Aston Martin Vantage V12 a few years back. The car made him sad because he knew it was the end of an era.

There’s nothing like the rumble of a 5.0-litre monster on start up – the massive grunt when you floor it and the shove in your back. Somehow a turbo just doesn’t do it the same.

Car Couture is off to Australia today to try another potential dinosaur – the Jeep SRT. A 6.4-litre SUV that’s available in the UK but hugely overlooked. Join us in a few days for a 1,500-mile return trip up the Coral Coast…

The M6 is BMW’s most expensive petrol car….


According to my calculations, the BMW is the most expensive petrol car that BMW sell. There is the i8 but that boasts hybrid technology that always adds to the bill.

M6 is certainly worthy of the honour. More stylish than the M5, hugely practical for a coupe and very, very fast. The 4.4-litre twin turbo at the heart of this wonderful machine is sensational – considering the car weighs two tons.

All coupes are designed to seduce and M6 has plenty to lure you in. The sumptuous interior, squat profile and handling that belies its size makes this a fantastic drivers car.

The steering, engine and suspension can all be adjusted to suit conditions – including beating the Audi RS7 in almost every department…

The BMW M6 – a refined super tourer in an age of noisy exhaust pipes


I have to declare an interest from the start. The last car I owned was a 630d – it took me 48 years to find the perfect car for my needs but we got there in the end.

Now I’m testing the Big Daddy version. The rumbling M6 V8 that looks and sounds discreetly powerful without upsetting every other road user.

It would be easy to argue the case for other fast coupes but when it comes to styling, I think the 6 Series is difficult to beat. It’s also very roomy, beautifully screwed together and ‘feels’ like a refined muscle car.

Not sure who is going to pay £93k to buy one but I digress. The M6 is a masterclass in performance with discretion – especially in an age of noisy ‘sport’ exhausts and in your face styling…