BMW has revealed its first wave of the future: the first front-drive car in its lineup. Ever. The world has been calling it the 1 Series Gran Turismo, but it is actually the BMW Concept Active Tourer that will be unveiled in a short while at the Paris Motor Show this month. It will have a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and one of the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder powerplants we've told you about on Friday.
The Concept Active Tourer reminds us a lot of the Mercedes B-Class, with much of the same MPV-ish proportions. It has retained that design aggression we have come to expect from the front of BMWs, but at the rear it is more SUV than hatchback or MPV thanks to the sharply raked rear glass. We especially like the cutouts in the bumper for the exhaust tips, they are certainly in tune with today's modern designs and hope they make it onto the production version as well.
Traditional BMW fans are probably getting apoplectic over the front-drive architecture, but there's more bad news for them; instead of a silky-smooth straight-six being one of the engine options, we can at best hope for a four-pot for motive power. Currently the car is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine along with an electric drivetrain as well, rated at a total of 190bhp and 200Nm. That is good enough to get the car to 100kmph from rest in under 8 seconds, which is plenty fast for India. Top speed is 200kmph. Fuel efficiency is claimed to be a staggering 45.45kmpl, equal to the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid's.
The big change is in the interiors. If you've been in any of the current generation of BMWs, they're all... similar, to put it mildly. The cabin of the Concept Active Tourer is completely new and even though there are old elements like the steering wheel and gearshifter, it is a fresh appearance and it very appealing. BMW has also now announced its version of Mercedes' 'Magic Sky Roof', calling theirs a "Cool Shade' panoramic glass roof that will change opacity at the touch of a button. On the options list are a full colour HUD and a 10.25-inch stack display screen usually not seen this side of an Audi A8.
The Concept Active Tourer is as long as the current 1 Series, but it is taller and wider than the sedan. We'll know more about the car in two weeks, when it is officially revealed at the Paris Motor Show.