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BMW Concept Active Tourer – It’s the BMW B Class

Fri, 14 Sep 2012

The BMW Concept Active Tourer has been revealed ahead of the Paris Motor Show, previewing BMW’s new FWD direction.

We recently had Mercedes roll out their take on the BMW 1 Series with the new A Class, and now the roles are reversed with BMW revealing their take on the Mercedes B Class with the BMW Concept Active Tourer.

The BMW Concept Active Tourer is a preview of BMW’s front wheel drive future in the small premium sector, even if the Concept Active Tourer is notionally 4WD thanks to its a 67bhp electric motor driving the back axle in this hybrid setup.

But it’s what’s under the bonnet that’s most interesting. BMW has fitted their new 1.5 litre three cylinder engine – transversely – to drive the front wheels, the first time BMW has produced a front wheel drive car, producing 134bhp and allowing the Concept Active Tourer to hit 62mph in under 8 seconds yet average (officially) 113mpg.

The plug-in hybrid system is clever too with automatic shifts between petrol, electric or both power sources depending on demand, the road and driving style. That is aided by the three modes on offer – Comfort, Sport and Eco Pro – with Eco Pro including preview assist on the SatNav which gives driving tips as you approach bends or junctions. That sounds exciting.

In terms of style, the Concept Active Tourer is as close to the B Class, in size and style, as BMW could get. That means a stubby bonnet – the exact opposite of the BMW we know - thanks to the transverse engine layout, with the kidney grill tilted forward and swept back headlights flowing in to the flared wheel arches.

That stubby nose means the cabin moves forward for more interior space thanks to a boxy profile – with the Hofmeister kink still in evidence – and a short overhang at the back.

Just like the B Class, the Concept Active Tourer has high mounted seats for better visibility and the front passenger gets an even better view thanks to a dash that falls away from the driver. There’s a heads-up display for the driver, big 10.25″ display and even BMW’s take on Mercedes’ Magic Sky with a panoramic roof that goes from opaque to clear at the flick of a switch.

Even though the BMW Concept Active Tourer is billed as a concept it will spawn BMW’s new 1 Series range of cars – with diesel, petrol and hybrid powertrains – with the Concept Active Tourer possibly arriving as the BMW 1 Series GT.

BMW Concept Active Tourer Photos >>

By Cars UK