BMW says the Concept Active Tourer, which will premiere at the Paris auto show on September 27, is a key component in the ongoing development of the BMW brand and its model portfolio.
The Concept is a plug-in hybrid, using the same electric powertrain as the BMW i8, including the electric drive, electric motor, lithium-ion battery and intelligent engine control unit.
Breaking with BMW-brand tradition, its 1.5-litre, three-cylinder TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine drives the front wheels. The electric motor drives the rear axle, when needed, powering the car on its own.
Just as important as its transverse engine mounting and front-wheel drive, which enable a generously-sized interior, the body-style itself is new for BMW. It's a five-door hatchback that suggests a probable production competitor for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class.
BMW wants a piece of that action, noting that annual growth rates of up to 5% are expected in the small car and compact segment of the premium class in the years to come.
The Concept Active Tourer is geared towards premium segment customers who appreciate a high level of comfort, a raised seating position and a generous amount of space, as well as to families who attach importance to lifestyle and athletic flair, BMW says.
Dimensionally, it is 4,350 mm long, 1,834 mm wide and a 1,560 mm wide, on a 2,670-mm wheelbase.
The Concept Active Tourer is unmistakably BMW in appearance, with a slightly front-tilted dual-kidney grille and a wedge-look profile that is highlighted by short overhangs and 20-inch wheels. A raised roof-line and large doors promise convenient access to both front and rear seats.
An innovative composite-glass, panorama sunroof incorporates Suspended Particle Device (SPD) technology that permits the desired brightness or temperature effect to be created at the press of a button.
Inside, a 10.25-inch integrated screen replaces the conventional instrument cluster to provide the driver with information on speed, engine speed, fuel level and oil temperature, there is which makes for a modern display experience.
The familiar look of four circular instruments is retained, but the use of extended Black Panel Technology creates a whole new range of display options.
The word from Europe is that the Concept Active Tourer is provides an accurate preview of a planned addition to BMW's 1-series lineup, scheduled for 2014.