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BMW plug-in hybrid concept hints at new compact MPV

To date, the carmaker has stuck vehemently to its rear-wheel drive formula in the premium compact class, despite all of its rivals using front wheel drive. It’s seen as a growing sector, too, with BMW predicting 5% annual growth in this and the premium B-segment.

The Concept Active Tourer’s uses a petrol engine to power the front wheels and an electric motor at the rear, and is said to show how BMW sees cars in this sector being powered. But it would also allow front wheel drive 1 Series range, with the hybrid model adding electric drive for the rear wheels.

Hybrid components are fitted under the boot floor. This comprises an electric motor and lithium ion battery, offering a fully-electric range of up to 18 miles and the ability to “coast” at up to 100mph with the petrol engine switched off.

Under the bonnet, the concept uses a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine similar to the unit found in the forthcoming i8 hybrid supercar. Combined with the electric motor, this offers a 190bhp output and reaches 62mph in under eight seconds from rest. But it’s also very efficient, returning 113mph and emitting less than 60g/km CO2.

The Concept Active Tourer also previews some of BMW’s latest in-car technology, including an intelligent satellite navigation unit which warns the driver to slow down ahead of unseen bends, traffic problems or junctions ahead, and can plan journeys based on the most efficient use of the hybrid drive. 

Alex Grant

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