BMW has released the first details of its Active Tourer concept vehicle. If its advanced technologies make it into a future production version, the resulting car promises to be one of the most significant in the company's history.
The Active Tourer has a rather un-BMW-like compact semi-MPV body style but that's the least of this car's departures from the Bavarian manufacturer's traditional way of doing things. That body conceals a plug-in petrol hybrid drive-train capable of powering the Active Tourer for almost twenty miles in electric-only mode after a top-up from the mains. The electric motor is paired with a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. The rear wheels are driven by the electric motor, and front pair by the petrol engine – and that's probably the biggest shock of all, given BMW's long attachment to the benefits of rear-wheel drive. The company says this set-up is based on the power-train that will be seen in the much sportier i8.
The combination of electric and petrol power produces a total power output of 190 PS, enough, BMW reckons, for a top speed of 125 mph and a 0-100km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of less than eight seconds – impressive figures if the car also achieves anything like the claimed 113 mpg and sub-60g/km CO2 emissions.
BMW isn't being specific about production plans but says the Active Tourer “presents a real opportunity for the continued growth of the BMW brand”.