2012 Paris Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- BMW will debut the Concept Active Tourer, a front-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid with a new TwinPower Turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery at the upcoming Paris auto show.
- BMW, which has staked much of its reputation on rear-wheel drive, says the Concept Active Tourer "presents a drive concept which is new to the BMW brand."
- No production or pricing plans were disclosed.
MUNICH, Germany — BMW is set to shake up the 2012 Paris Auto Show with the debut of the BMW Concept Active Tourer, a front-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid with a new TwinPower Turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery.
BMW, which has staked much of its reputation on rear-wheel drive, says the Concept Active Tourer "presents a drive concept which is new to the BMW brand."
"The 1.5-liter petrol engine does not drive the rear wheels — as has been the case in BMW models to date — but the front wheels," it added.
No production or pricing plans were disclosed, but BMW said the Concept Active Tourer, a compact crossover, "is a key component in the ongoing development of the BMW brand and its model portfolio."
The radical concept seems to stand in stark contrast to BMW's adherence to rear-wheel drive in much of its lineup, except for four-wheel-drive offerings.
"The best solution for vehicle dynamics is the standard drive, with the engine at the front and the drive force at the back, a division of labor that has a positive influence on steering, motion and comfort," according to the BMW Insight portion of the German automaker's Web site. "Rear-wheel drive enables the characteristic BMW weight distribution of almost exactly 50 percent on the front axle and 50 percent on the rear. This near-perfect 50:50 weight distribution ensures neutral self-steering behavior."
BMW appears to be jumping on the fuel economy bandwagon with the debut of the concept. The concept gets the U.S. equivalent of 94 mpg, with CO2 emissions of less than 60 g/km.
The powertrain setup delivers 190 horsepower. The Concept Active Tourer accelerates from zero to 62 mph in less than 8 seconds and has a top speed of about 124 mph. The concept has a maximum range of more than 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) when running on electric power alone. It can be charged from a 220-volt household power socket.
Other details on the concept include a High Reflection Silver exterior paint treatment, 20-inch wheels and an unusual head-up display that appears on a retracting glass surface between the steering wheel and the windshield. A flat floor can be created by folding down all three backrest sections.
The concept also gets a new iPad app called "Seismic Surf," an ecological racing game.
Edmunds says: BMW dabbles in front-wheel drive with the debut of its fuel-efficient concept. Will the purists squawk?