Ask anyone about the most atypical BMW on sale today and they’ll probably say it’s the 2 Series Active Tourer, along with its seven-seat Gran Tourer sibling. Not necessarily because they’re both front-wheel-drive-based models, but the whole idea of an MPV from the “Ultimate Driving Machine” company is still baffling.

In this day and age when crossovers and SUVs are pretty much dominating the market, coming out with a premium MPV seems like a risky move, but that’s exactly BMW did in 2014.

Not only that, but we have spy shots proving a second generation is on its way with a design that will try to eliminate some of the cumbersome MPV exterior design traits of the original 2 Series Active Tourer and replace them with crossover cues. It will still have a tall roof as all MPVs should have in order to offer ample headroom, but BMW’s designers will make some big changes to the shape and the finer details of the people-mover.

Gallery: New BMW 2 Series Active Tourer spy photos

From the greenhouse to the location of the side mirrors, a lot of body changes will take place. We’re getting the feeling a bump in size for the kidney grille is coming, while the new door handles are similar to those of the i4. Bear in mind this camouflaged prototype still has extra layers of camo held in place using tiny black rivets, while the headlights and taillights don’t seem to be the final units.

Our spy photographers have shared with us an interesting image of a rudimentary 2 Series Active Tourer prototype with the rear bumper detached and at least one of the rear wheels missing. The top image gives us the opportunity to see some of the MPV’s guts as well as the larger quarter glass. A lengthened greenhouse could imply a stretch of the wheelbase, which would make sense since the rumour mill is saying the seven-seat Gran Tourer model is not coming back. BMW could make the 2 Active Tourer slightly longer for additional legroom, but it remains to be seen whether a three-row configuration will be optionally offered.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer spy photo
2018 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer facelift

An older photo allows us to take a peek inside the cabin where the BMW among MPVs had a vastly different dashboard compared to the current car. The dual digital screen setup reminds us of the electric iNext / iX, but the screens don’t seem to be as large as they will be on the company’s future flagship SUV. The centre console also appears to be significantly different as the bulky gear lever of the current 2 Series Active Tourer is gone.

The oily bits should be carried over from BMW’s recent front-wheel-drive cars, namely the 1 Series hatchback and the 2 Series Gran Coupe. While those two have received the M Performance treatment, we wouldn’t hold our breath for a sporty MPV with 300 bhp since very few people would buy that.

The base models will send the engine’s power to the front axle whereas the more expensive ones will be offered with xDrive. With the company’s R&D boss Klaus Froehlich saying the three-cylinder diesel is on its way out, chances are the 216d with its 1.5-litre unit won’t live to see another generation.

The wraps should come off at some point in 2021 when BMW is expected to unveil its revamped Mercedes B-Class competitor.