14/09/2012 A Front-Wheel Drive BMW? Concept Active Tourer to debut in Paris
This is going to be controversial. BMW’s new concept, bound for the Paris Motor Show, is big news – and not because it’s a plug-in hybrid capable of up to 20 miles of electric driving. The controversial bit is that the BMW Concept Active Tourer is built on a front-wheel drive platform.
True, there’s an electric motor turning the rear wheels, but the transversely front-mounted 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine drives only the front – and the concept is almost certainly a foretaste of a future in which BMW’s entry-level small cars abandon the marque’s long-held commitment to rear-wheel drive. It might make financial good sense for the marque, but it’s going to come as a bit of a shock to enthusiasts who never really believed that BMW would go this way – even for their small-car line-up.
As for the hybrid part of the story, the combined power systems – petrol and electric – deliver more than 190HP to “ensure the sporty performance expected of a BMW” and a 0-62mph time of less than eight seconds. The BMW Concept Active Tourer’s raised seating position accommodates up to five people, with a long wheelbase (2670mm) ensuring generous interior space.
Impressively, Combined fuel economy comes in at 113mpg and CO2 at under 60g/km, while the batteries can be recharged from any 220V domestic power socket, as well as being replenished by the electric motor during deceleration, and by the petrol engine on demand.