For this year’s Paris Motor Show, Bmw decided to abandon its tradition of longitudinally mounted engines and rear-wheel drive in favor of a new range of front-drive entry-level models: this is the Concept Active Tourer. According to the official press release, this is a plug-in hybrid with four-wheel drive and has a transversely mounted engine that drives the front wheels, while the rear wheels are powered by an electric motor. Dubbed UKL1, the platform used by the Concept Active Tourer will also be used on two wheelbase lengths by the next-generation MINI but also by the entry-level models that will join the Bmw 1-Series lineup in late 2013. With these new models, Bmw expects to boost its annual sales volumes to 2 million by 2020.
The new range will include an MPV (previewed by the Concept Active Tourer) but also a rival to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and the new Volkswagen Golf Plus. The new Concept Active Tourer also introduces Bmw’s new 1.5-liter three-cylinder direct injection petrol engine, same that will be used in the i8 sports car. Still, this engine is teamed up with the electric motor that powers the rear axle. With a system output of over 190 hp, the Concept Active Tourer accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 8 seconds, while the maximum speed achieved is around 200 km/h or 124 mph.
Despite these performances, the fuel consumption is less than 2.5 litres per 100 kilometres, with a CO2 emissions level of less than 60 g/km. In terms of design, the Concept Active Tourer carries a completely new structure for Bmw models as it features a short bonnet, a high roof line and able tailgate. We don’t expect to see many changes in the production version. Moreover, the Concept Active Tourer will probably be badged as the 1-Series GT in production trim. Regarding its dimensions, the Concept Active Tourer has 4353mm in length, 1834mm in width and 1560mm in height. The interior was also completely redesigned comparing it with the rear-wheel drive models as the concept takes advantage of the packaging improvements offered by its transverse engine layout.