BMW has presented a new Concept Active Tourer, which is the first to arrive from a range of front-drive entry-level BMWs that has long been mooted. This is tantamount to BMW’s decision to forget about its tradition of longitudinally mounted engines and rear-wheel drive. At the Paris motor show, BMW unveiled the five-door hatchback, a plug-in hybrid with four-wheel drive.
The front wheels are driven by a transversely mounted engine. This implies that entry-level BMWs from the new small car line-up will have front-wheel drive. Meanwhile, an electric motor is powering the rear wheels.
The platform is referred to as UKL1; it will be used in two wheelbase lengths both for the next-generation Mini line-up and the new range of entry-level BMWs to enter the 1-series line-up starting in late 2013. BMW is depending on this range to boost BMW’s annual sales volumes to two million by 2020.
It will feature a new MPV previewed by the Concept Active Tourer to compete with the Mercedes B-class and Volkswagen Golf Plus. The Concept Active Tourer displays BMW’s new 1.5-litre three-cylinder direct injection petrol engine that is believed to soon be a staple of the small BMW and Mini line-ups. It has a codename of B38 and it will be utilized in the i8 sports car where it is fitted longitudinally.
The twin-scroll turbocharged engine is from a new modular family that will later support three, four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants, promising as much as a 60% component commonality to result to more flexibility in production than the current engines.