With German rivals Mercedes and Audi preparing to unleash a number of premium, front-drive vehicles, it was only a matter of time before BMW joined the fray. Set to debut at the upcoming Paris auto show is the BMW Concept Active Tourer, which combines the functionality of a subcompact crossover with a fuel efficient plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The hybrid equation starts under the hood with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gas engine that is transversely mounted to drive the front wheels. Should this concept make to production in some form, it could be the first-ever front-drive BMW. Supplementing the engine is a BMW-sourced electric motor, which drives the rear wheels. The system has a combined output of 190 hp, propelling Concept Active Tourer from 0-62 mph in less than eight seconds, BMW estimates. Recharging the lithium-ion battery is done via regenerative braking or a plug. BMW says the concept can run solely on electric power for about 12 miles. The concept’s eDrive powertrain is similar to the i8 concept unveiled last year, although the sleek coupe is more powerful and faster with an estimated 0-62 mph time of less than five seconds.
Inside, the BMW Concept Active Tourer includes an advanced, multicolor head-up display, a panoramic sunroof that changes transparency at the push of a button, an 8-inch infotainment screen, and a 10.3-inch customizable screen replacing a traditional instrument cluster. BMW says the eDrive system gathers information from planned navigation routes and assists the driver to drive more efficiently. For example, if the system detects an upcoming blind, downhill turn, it will alert the driver to let off the throttle. Furthermore, the concept features a “Seismic Surf” game that collects driving data, which affects the gameplay for rear-seat passengers using the app on an iPad.