Paris Show 2012 Highlights: BMW Active Tourer Concept

BMW has abandoned its illustrious tradition of longitudinally mounted engines and rear-wheel drive with this new Concept Active Tourer, a forerunner to the long-mooted range of front-drive entry-level BMWs.

The five-door hatchback, revealed at the Paris motor show, is a plug-in hybrid with four-wheel drive. A transversely mounted engine drives the front wheels – an acknowledgment that entry-level BMWs from the new small car line-up will come with front-wheel drive – and the rear wheels are powered by an electric motor.

The platform is known as UKL1 and will be used in two wheelbase lengths both for the next-generation Mini line-up and the new range of entry-level BMWs to join the 1-series line-up from late 2013.

This range, designed to boost BMW’s annual sales volumes to two million by 2020, will include a new MPV previewed by the Concept Active Tourer to rival the Mercedes B-class and Volkswagen Golf Plus.

The Concept Active Tourer showcases BMW’s new 1.5-litre three-cylinder direct injection petrol engine that will be a staple of the small BMW and Mini line-ups. Codenamed B38, it will also be used in the i8 sports car where it is installed longitudinally.

The twin-scroll turbocharged engine is from a new modular family that will eventually support three, four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants boasting up to 60 per cent component commonality for more flexible production than today’s engines.

In the concept, the engine is supported by an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack mounted in the floor and drive is channeled to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Combined power is put at 188bhp. In all-electric mode, the concept is rear-drive.

BMW claims 0-62mph in “less than 8.0sec”, a top speed “around 120mph” along with combined economy of “more than 113mpg”, a CO2 rating of “under 60g/km” and electric only range of up to 18 miles. No weight figures have been announced.

The UKL1 platform is engineered for both front- and all-wheel drive layouts. UKL1 is derived from the German words ‘unter klasse’, meaning sub class or entry level.

Thanks to: Autocar


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