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Paris show: BMW reveals Active Tourer

New member: The front-drive Concept Active Tourer plug-in hybrid is slightly larger than the rear-drive BMW 1 Series hatchback.

BMW goes front-drive with its mould-breaking Compact Active Tourer plug-in hybrid


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14 Sep 2012

BMW has revealed the first front-drive car to wear its famous propeller badge, the Concept Active Tourer.

The plug-in hybrid small crossover hatch, to be shown at this month’s Paris motor show, is believed to preview the German company’s new front-drive small car range to counter rival Mercedes-Benz’s conceptually similar A- and B-Class models.

The concept is the first vehicle to sit on the car-maker’s new UKL platform that will underpin a range of future BMW compacts and Mini models to enter production from late 2013.

This future front- and four-wheel-drive small car range will play an important role in achieving BMW’s stated goal of selling two million cars a year by 2020.

The production-ready design closely previews a practical people-mover derivative of this forthcoming compact range – possibly to be called the 1 Series GT – that will be focused more on space and versatility than the traditional BMW tenets of performance and dynamics.

The exterior features the traditional BMW kidney grille, prominent side scallops and sleek headlights, while the cabin has a floating dash design and raised front seats giving a more commanding road view, plus a large central screen and new-generation head-up display.

Capitalising on the packaging benefits on a front-drive layout, production models will offer a versatile cabin with 40:20:40 flat-fold rear seats, with a folding table for back-seat occupants.

At 4350mm long, 1834mm wide, 1560mm high, the Concept Active Tourer is 26mm longer than the rear-drive 1 Series hatch, as well as 75mm wider. However, it sits on a 2670mm wheelbase - 20mm shorter than the rear-drive 1 Series.

Power comes from a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine driving the front wheels, paired with a small 200Nm electric motor at the rear for a combined system output of more than 140kW.

According the BMW, the concept car can dash from zero to 100km/h in less than 8.0 seconds on its way to a top speed of more than 200km/h, but uses just 2.5 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle test.

The electric motor is mated to a lithium-ion battery pack fitted under the floor to save space. The battery can be charged from a powerpoint, or the engine can be used as a generator to top up depleted cells.

BMW claims the five-door hatchback can run on electric power alone for up to 30km.

The petrol triple-cylinder engine – also used in the i8 plug-in sports car revealed in Frankfurt last year – is derived from BMW’s TwinPower straight six but fitted in a space-saving transverse layout as opposed to the traditional BMW longitudinal configuration.

The twin scroll turbocharged engine receives BMW’s patented valvetronic valve timing system and is part of a new modular engine family that will eventually support three-, four- and six-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants featuring “unsurpassed commonality” to simplify production.

The plug-in concept premieres the company’s intelligent energy management technology, which uses the navigation system to calculate in advance which parts of a journey to apply electric drive and charge the battery. BMW says this system saves up to 10 per cent of fuel.

Additional green technology includes a more advanced version of BMW’s Eco Pro technology that reduces ancillaries such as the air-conditioner at appropriate moments, and can de-couple the petrol engine when coasting.

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