BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer and Opel Zafira Tourer compared: Seven in one go
BMW is off to a flying start within the compact van segment - the Gran Tourer is optionally available as a seven-seater. An initial comparison with the established Opel Zafira Tourer shows how good the new van is as a family car.
The studio headlights blink as they come awake, shining their bright white light on the flamenco red Gran Tourer: a BMW, without doubt, with kidney grilles, dual LED headlights, L-shaped rear lights and aeroblades on the D-pillar. So is there any need to ask this time whether a compact van can be a true BMW? This is a question that doesn't come up for project manager Peter Krist, responsible for the BMW front-wheel-drive platform and its branches. For him the Gran Tourer is a logical progression following the Active Tourer presented before the end of last year, a little taller and longer and with an optional third row of seating in the back, thus making the new BMW a seven-seater. "Why should someone who otherwise drives a BMW do without it during a period of their life when they need more space?" asks Krist.
As we walk around the car it seems more hefty than the Active Tourer, and a glance at the figures confirm this impression: 214 millimetres longer, a 110-millimetre longer wheelbase, 53 millimetres taller - the Gran Tourer looks really big. The length creates space for an optional third row of seats (presumed to cost around an additional 800 Euros). The booth space then shrinks by 85 litres, but even so, the loading capacity is considerable: 560 up to a maximum of 1,820 litres, whereas with five seats the values are 645 and 1,905 litres.
The Opel Zafira Tourer offers much more space
Appearance of the Zafira Tourer. The compact van from Rüsselsheim is certainly not the favoured opponent of the BMW van, but the top dog in the form of the VW Touran is about to undergo a model upgrade. Regardless of how: alongside the dynamic, angular Gran Tourer, the Opel seems really big. And it is too: with a length of 4,656 millimetres and a height of 1,685 millimetres, it outdoes the BMW by some margin. It is precisely 100 millimetres shorter in length and 80 millimetres lower. However, this has practically no effect on the load capacity, as a five-seater the Zafira packs in 1,860 litres, while at 710 litres the standard boot capacity is a little larger.
The third row of seats – this is no surprise in vans of this calibre – is rather makeshift in both vehicles. Imn the BMW it can be comparatively easily accessed via the easy-entry function in the second row and can be easily folded forwards and back. With the exception of the A-pillar, the Active and Gran Tourer are identical, although the B-pillar extends slightly higher towards the roof. It's no wonder that there is no difference in terms of the space on the front seats. The additional headroom in the Gran Tourer is evident in the back, where it is much more comfortable. This is also on account of the fact that bench in the second row is positioned higher up, therefore enabling a more comfortable knee angle and thus creating space for the storage compartments, offered as standard. Unlike in the majority of competitors, the second row of seats does not consist of three individual seats, but rather of two exterior seats and a smaller seat in the middle. "We did this intentionally," explains Peter Krist, "as it increases the sitting comfort when only two people are travelling in the back ans they are not positioned so far to the outside as is the case on small individual seats." The seat backs can thus be folded forwards in a 40/20/40 ratio as standard.
The design in the Zafira Tourer is different: it has three very comfortable individual seats, which (subject to an additional charge of 295 Euros, or as standard in the Innovation model) can be adjusted to form two seats plus a central armrest. This option is not offered in the BMW, but there are no great difference in terms of seat comfort in the second row. And to make up for this, the front seats are all the more large. The Gran Tourer matches its little brother, unmistakably a BMW including an iDrive button, large sat nav monitor and of fine quality.
BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer with up to 189 HP
In the Opel it is a different matter, with the operating controls and infotainment having been on-board in this form since 2011, and therefore compared to the BMW no longer quite up to date. Regarding the engines, Opel piled the fire up at the beginning of the year - the Zafira is available with petrol engines ranging from 113 to 197 HP and diesel engines ranging from 118 to 168 HP. The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, for its launch on 13 June, has no such large range available, there will be three diesels with 114, 148 and 187 HP, plus two petrol engines with 134 and 189 HP, with the entry level engines as three-cylinders, and the 220d as xDrive. In the Summer, the 216i is expected to follow as an affordable variant for 26.950 Euros. The 216d with 114 HP will be on the price list from 30,400 Euros. The Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi with 118 HP is priced from 25,200 Euros, a difference that will not only be decisive for families. Given this high price difference, the BMW will certainly struggle in a future comparison test against the Zafira and the new VW Touran.
Date5 August 2015