Come closer. That’s it, a little closer to the page, because
we have something we need to whisper in your digital ears: this, fellow
petrolheads, is the BMW Concept Active Tourer, and it is front-wheel-drive.
That’s right, a front-wheel-drive BMW. Makes you shudder
inside a tad, doesn’t it? It might just be a concept set for the Paris Motor
Show in a couple of weeks time, but make no mistake, this is the future for
Yes, they’ve been knocking out front-drive hatches for
donkeys’ years in the shape of the Mini, but this is the first time a proper
modern BMW’s front wheels have got themselves a full time job. It’s meant to
account for a massive sales chunk of BMW’s future, so it’s quite important.
And as such, it’s taking both barrels and aiming squarely at
the Mercedes-Benz B-Class. It’s dimensions, barring a little extra width, are
nigh on identical, and that front, transversely mounted engine, says BMW,
allows for more generous interior space.
Ah yes, that engine. It’s a brand-new 1.5-litre turbocharged
petrol three-cylinder unit, derived from Bee-Em’s magnificent 3.0-litre
straight-six (yes, maths fans, it’s half), that will see service in all future
BMW ‘Efficient Dynamics’ models, and powers only the front wheels. It’s coupled
to an electric motor that fires on the rear axle capable of powering the car on
its own. All in, the Tourer produces 190bhp, is capable of 0-62mph in less than
eight seconds and maxes out at 120mph. All this, and it emits less than 60g/km
and returns around 113mpg. Woah.
Inside there’s “open-pore” laminated wood, lots of soft and
smooth leather, an eight-inch display for sat nav and hybrid information, a
head-up display for the driver, a panoramic sunroof, a rear setup able to split
40:20:40, and some neat touches like mobile ‘Tablet’ clips for the rear
And is it just us, or does this Beemer actually look quite
smart, almost handsome? Yes, the grille might be huge but we’re used to that
now, plus those 20s sit nicely and the overall stance sits pleasingly.
This is BMW getting quite serious about practicality, so
tell us, which premium mini-MPV would you plump for: this, or the Mercedes B-Class?