BMW Plug-In Hybrid Concept Goes Front-Wheel Drive

Hot on the heels of Nissan’s pre-Paris Auto Show concept reveal, BMW is pulling the curtain back on the Concept Active Tourer, a little three-cylinder, front-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid that will debut in less than two weeks at the big French car conclave.

This car boasts the eDrive concept that BMW is putting a lot of marketing energy into with its BMW i brand, extending eDrive for the first time to a model in what the company calls its “core BMW brand.”

bmw active tourer concept

image via BMW

EDrive is BMW’s nomenclature for the electric drivetrain: the electric motor developed in-house by BMW, the lithium-ion battery, and finally the intelligent motor management system. This package evolved out of the ActiveE concept that dates back to 2009 (and which is undergoing field trials in the United States and elsewhere).

The Concept Active Tourer lands in the premium compact category, which BMW believes will be growing solidly (5 percent or more on an annual basis) in the next several years. The emphasis is on interior space for family use – BMW says “a high roof line and a compact transverse engine with front-wheel drive make it possible to create a generously sized interior.”

bmw active tourer concept

image via BMW

But it’s the front-wheel drive – “a drive concept which is new to the BMW brand,” the company says — that will probably have most people talking about this vehicle in Paris.

“With a system output of over 140 kW/190 bhp, the combination of combustion engine and electric motor enables the BMW Concept Active Tourer to achieve highly sporty performance figures while maintaining extremely low fuel consumption and emission levels,” BMW said.

To put some numbers behind the claim: zero-to-62 mph in eight seconds; a maximum speed of 120 mph; and fuel consumption of 2.5 litres per 100 kilometers – which by our calculation converts to 94 mpg.

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.