By on September 14, 2012

Here it is, the car that will be regarded by gearheads as the anti-Christ when it makes its debut later this month at the Paris Auto Show; the BMW Concept Active Tourer, a hybrid crossover which previews BMW’s front-drive 1-Series.

While not quite as radical as the BMW i3, the Concept Active Tourer uses the long-rumored 1.5L 3-cylinder turbocharged engine with an electric motor, for a total of 190 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. The lithium-ion battery is said to be good for up to 20 miles of EV driving, while hitting 60 mph in under 8 seconds.

BMW hasn’t confirmed that this car is front-drive, but based on its proportions and previous comments by BMW brass, it’s almost a certainty.

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33 Comments on “BMW’s Front Drive Plug-In Hybrid...”


  • avatar
    dolorean

    I dig it, but not too fond of the ‘crossover’ treatment. A 3 series wagon type would have been more my taste.

  • avatar

    Like, we’re expecting BMW to stay true to their traditions? That went away a long time ago. BMW is about as exclusive as Toyota or Ford anymore. And equally as special.

    • 0 avatar
      photog02

      God help you if you ever say that around any BMW CCA member or publication. The club magazine still (almost on a monthly basis) talks about Korean cars being cheaply built econoboxes, and the current issue refers to Jags being reliability nightmares (despite the brand’s standing well ahead of BMW in JD Power rankings). This group is wearing some huge blinders.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I was a CCA member for years. When the cars stopped being worth a damn, I got over it. I don’t understand how anyone that loved BMWs twenty years can even look at them today.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        bmw probably reached a nadir with the e46/e39 (vanos and subframe failures notwithstanding) so like porsche, has expanded their portfolio into irrelevance

        its like mercedes with the ‘engineered like no other car’ – the future is the above… 2 or 3 cyl. hybrids on a fwd faux crossover format… Mercedes pioneered it with the A class but even they seem to have gotten over it

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        I’m a BMW CCA member and e46 owner and sykerocker is completely on point. I’d say the begining of the end was the M versions of the x5, x6, and the way the 1 M ended up being, as well as the e90 3 series.

      • 0 avatar
        photog02

        I guess I should add that I am both a CCA member (for another year- I am not planning on renewing) and an owner of multiple BMWs (2002tii, E46 330i, Z3). I can’t see many/any other BMWs I could care to own.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        CJinSD,

        Another on with your experience. Got my first BMW (a 90 E30 325is) in 1995. Adored it. Enjoyed reading the Roundel every month. Later owned a E36 M3 4-door. Liked it a lot, unfortunately the wife was being it to death (my first M3, her second) . . . . . and I wasn’t happy with the ‘upscaling’. Obviously, I’m another one of those who BMW has lost completely. Won’t even look at anything newer than an E36 – and consider the E30 interior automotive perfection.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @photog02, kudos for your BMW choices. Maybe add an M Coupe to the list, and all is good!

    • 0 avatar
      Shawnski

      You may have your reasons for thinking BMW is no longer special, but I remain smitten. IMO BMW represents the best combination of build quality, performance, technology, and refinement.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Shawnski..

        I agree. I may not use the word, “smitten”, but I still regard them highly. (Have 2006 E90 3-series and 2007 Z4.) No problems with either; good looks; both fun to drive; reasonable gas mileage (30’s). The issue for me is whether “lower” BMW’s have a ride quality suitable for American roads anymore, — when you want “daily driver” capability!

        As long as BMW keeps throwing fun cars into the mix and sells to the market whatever they have to in order to fund fun cars, then that’s OK with me. Sort of like Enzo Ferrari condescending actually to sell his cars to the public in order to fund racing, his particular “fun” item.

        Or maybe like Porsche making the Cayenne and Panamera to put money under the new 911 and Boxster. Great idea. You certainly couldn’t stay in business just selling Boxsters, could you?

        ————–

    • 0 avatar
      Speed Spaniel

      I really really want to like the modern BMW, but they’re just too “me too wannabee” for my tastes. With the exception of BMW owners on this site, how many BMW drivers today are actually car enthusiasts?. But, they have that magic propeller on the hood so obviously their hair salon is a success. There’s nothing special about this marque anymore. I really wanted to like the 1 Series when it first came out, hoping it was a return to the 2002, but it has electric windows, so not exactly. I really miss the older BMW versions, like my Dad’s imported Bavaria and later 535. Once upon time (early 80s)passing BMW driver’s (including motorcyclists) would flash headlights at each other. One of my Dad’s 80s BMW actually had a signature “Weber” with a mustache hand painted below the name on the upper right trunk lid. Today it’s all about ‘iRobot’, ridiculously high horsepower in a country with 65MPH speed limits, high price yet mass production. Zoinks, I’m sounding alot like the old dude down the street…….

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Well, Speed Spaniel..

        Unfortunately, you are right.

        You said: “With the exception of BMW owners on this site, how many BMW drivers today are actually car enthusiasts?.”

        ANS: Not many. Most get the cars because of cachet or elegance, not track numbers or performance capability. It’s a new BMW world out there, but the Porsche aficionados are suffering the same thing too.

        ———-

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Not to sound TOO much like Baruth, but really, how many BMW owners have been enthusiasts since the days of the 2002? They have been upwardly mobile status symbols for 40(!) years. Yet they still make cars that are more involving than anything else out there overall. Sure, probably 90% of the owners buy them for the badge, but so what? The 10% of us who buy them because of how they drive LOVE them all the more. The nice thing about them is you actually can option them from stripped track special to luxo-barge – order it the way you want it and BMW will build one just for YOU.

        As to the whiners going on about how they are not what they once were – horsepucky! They are BETTER than they ever have been. I’ve owned a bunch of them over the years, my ’11 wagon is by far the best of the bunch. No, it is not quite as fun as my ’91 318is was, but I certainly would never have wanted to drive Berlin to Stockholm in that car in one sitting like I did the new one. My e28 535i was and is a terrific car (good friend still drives it) but my ’11 328i will run away and hide from it, has more room inside, gets 50% better gas mileage, and will certainly be more reliable despite being far more complex.

        So let’s take off the rose colored glasses shall we? The current cars are not perfect for sure, runflat tires are an abomination as is the lack of a spare or place to put one, there are still some component parts that should certainly be longer lasting, but overall they are pretty terrific cars. And relatively speaking they are no more expensive than they ever have been since the 70’s.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Man what rock have you guys been living under? I’ve been well out of highschool for 20+ years and I can remember a great many BMW “poseurs”, hell I watched a brand new E30 M3 slowly get blinged away as it passed from new owner and on down the used car market by each successive owner – last I saw it, it had faded paint, blotchy primer spots, rust and hammer wheels.

        To be frank when I was a young lad BMW was de rigueur equipment if you wanted to be taken seriously as a yuppie.

      • 0 avatar
        caboaz

        Krhodes,

        There isn’t a BMW NA gas engine available anymore – there has never been and never will be a turbo gas engine that is BETTER than its NA sister. Turbo = trouble, as many people are about to learn in the very near future. It’s the single reason I will never own another BMW after having three (unless they lose the turbo).

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The difference now is that BMW has abandoned enthusiasts and gone after the status-seekers. That’s great for the Quandts, but it means that the cars are now disposable fashion goods full of toys to occupy fallow minds. Technology has improved over the years. Get out of a BMW and you’ll see that applies to everyone else too. The difference is that BMW went from spartan interiors, mechanical purity that was both tactilely rewarding and durable, and timeless styling based on the concept of surface tension, that every line originated and terminated of necessity and was crisp over its duration. The new ones are none of those things. They are planned obsolescence like GM never achieved.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @caboaz

        Hogwash. I have owned more than a dozen turbocharged cars, and have never had any issues with the turbo on any of them. Yup, BMW screwed the pooch on the early 335i in many ways, but even the bloody-minded Germans learn over time and the cars are far better now. One of my favorite engines of all that I have owned was the 2.0L Turbo in my Saab 9-3. Bulletproof, smooth, powerful, really can’t be faulted, and the 2.0T in the new 328i is much the same.

        Ultimately, there is no such thing as a free lunch. You can’t have power AND fuel economy AND extremely low emissions without complexity. As I have said on here before, the six in my car sounds great (BMW Performance Intake and Exhaust for the win), but I would trade that sound for 10mpg in a heartbeat. Note that without the PE and PI, it did not sound like much of anything below 4500 rpm. Which most people probably like, but BMW provides a factory option for us enthusiasts.

        @CJinSD – I dunno what BMW did to piss in your cornflakes, but whatever dude. You are entitled to your opinion. I too am glad the Bangle-mangle era is over though. The cars are getting good looking again – the current 5-series is stunning, hopefully they will figure out electric steering. And bring back the @$@$@ wagon.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I can’t help but feel it further dilutes the brand beyond what their crossover and cute utes have already done.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    How interesting. Many major automakers think they need to get rolling with plug-in hybrids, yet it’s a political liability for Obama to encourage them.

    I like BMWs but I’m not emotionally wrapped up in them, so bowing to the advantages of front-drive packaging doesn’t bother me at all.

    I notice that they think the sweet spot for range is much shorter than that of the Volt… longer than that of the Prius.

    They also didn’t go all-out on a low-drag shape, which will compromise EV range, unless they intend to burn fuel at higher speeds (and I’d be OK with that).

    • 0 avatar
      DOF_Power

      What does Obama have to do with this ?!
      Everyone has pollution/fuel efficiency regulations, and they’re much tighter in Europe (where there’s high taxes as well).

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “Many major automakers think they need to get rolling with plug-in hybrids”

      With the Middle East as unstable as ever, automakers need to have options available if oil prices spike.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    “The Ultimate Driving Hybrid”? A useful CUV/station wagon body, hybrid, and a roundel. It’ll sell (lease) well.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      The Ultimate Driving Hybrid is OK by me. It is about time that hybrid technology went beyond just products for environmentalists and technophiles but also for folks who actually enjoy driving.

  • avatar
    carguy

    147 lb-ft of torque sounds low for a forced induction 1.5 that is assisted by an electric motor.

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    People looking for a new entry level BMW will get a Genesis Coupe 2.0T or an FR-S. People looking for a badge will get this. It is a Prius (nothing wrong with that, although it does not fit the traditional BWM brand) with less build quality.

  • avatar
    redav

    Very interesting, but given that it is a 1-series wagon/hatch, can we assume it won’t make it to the US?

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    BMW’s version of the Chevy Volt. Thank you Mr. Weber.

  • avatar
    Guildenstern

    Cool, BMW is making a Prius V…….Can’t you already buy one of those?

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Not with the show-off value of the roundel on the hood. Now, if you just want a car with competent driving dynamics, excellent mileage, and good reliability; yeah, they’ve been making those for a few years now. And with other nameplates besides Toyota.

      However, there’s that magic show-off ability of that blue and white roundel.

  • avatar

    The most interesting aspect of the styling (to me) is the fact that BMW eschewed the fixed windowlettes on the rear-doors that it uses in all of its five-door vehicles (X1, X3, X5, X6, 3-Series, 3-Series wagon… 5-Series GT, 5-Series wagon, etc…) in favor of a single piece of glass.

    Then again, this could be strictly because the vehicle is a concept. I seem to remember both the Buick Enclave and Lincoln MKX concepts pulling the same trick…

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    The Lexus CT200, Volts, and even Fiskers are selling rather briskly, at least here in California. I would imagine something like this would capture a lot of sales from that same market.


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