BMW Concept Active Tourer combines comfort and sustainable driving
By David Szondy
September 18, 2012
BMW is bringing its BMW Concept Active Tourer to the 2012 Paris Motor Show, which takes place September 29 to October 14. The four-door plug-in hybrid concept car showcases technology that combines fuel efficiency and comfort in a design aimed at the premium compact market.
The BMW Concept Active Tourer isn’t a high performance concept that’s all revs and road handling, nor is it one of those blue-sky concepts that does away with things like wheels. Instead, BMW places the emphasis on comfort, sporty elegance, lots of interior space and getting the most fuel economy out of a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
With its long wheelbase, high-gloss finish and slightly front-tilted BMW radiator grille, it certainly is eye-catching. BMW’s design team wanted to provide the Tourer with “a dynamic feel even when stationary.” Its two large outer air inlets below the headlights provide a sense of aggressive width and the wedge-shaped silhouette gives what would be an otherwise boxy sedan with a large tailgate an impression of speed and quick handling. However it performs in real life, BMW wants this car to look like a mover – and a comfortable one at that.
The BWM Concept Active Tourer is 4.5 meters (14.76 ft) long, has a width of 1.8 meters (5.9 ft) and a total height of 1.5 meters (4.92 ft), so there’s plenty of leeway for interior space. Under the bonnet, it’s a plug-in hybrid using the eDrive concept from the BMW i8 with a 1.5-liter injection, twin-turbo 3-cylinder petrol engine with the fully variable VALVETRONIC valve control system that puts out a reasonable 190 bhp (140 kW).
For the first time for a BMW, the engine only runs the front wheels. The rear wheels are powered by the Tourer’s 200 Nm (146.5 ft-lb) electric motor system, which runs off of lithium-ion batteries that can be charged from any 240-volt outlet.
BMW aims at sporty performance with decent fuel mileage for the Tourer, but manages a not very impressive 0 - 100 km/h (62 mph) in eight seconds and a maximum speed of about 200 km/h (124 mph). However, it's in the realm of fuel economy that BMW excels, with 2.5 liters per 100 kilometers (94.08 mpg), a range of over 30 kilometers (18.64 mi) running on electrics alone, and emissions of only 60 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer (3.4 oz per mi).
Part of this is due to BMW Group's Efficient Dynamics strategy, which is intended to maximize the BMW Concept Active Tourer’s range on all-electrics. The Tourer uses data from the car’s navigation system to anticipate the most efficient use of the hybrid system based on road and driving conditions as well as controlling an automatic start/stop for the engine to avoid wasting fuel at stop lights. This is combined with BMW’s ECO PRO system that advises the driver on the most energy efficient driving strategies while automatically making the Tourer coast at certain speeds when inertia alone is sufficient to keep going.
The interior of the Tourer is where the designers allowed themselves to introduce a touch of creativity that isn’t always exactly practical. Marked by spaciousness and raised seating positions, the interior is covered in soft full-grain leather. The color scheme is light gray with orange strip light accents that makes it look like something out of Star Trek.
The dashboard gets rid of traditional analog instruments in favor of a multi-functional instrument display. Using BMW’s Black Panel Technology, the driver’s instruments are replaced by a 10.25-inch (26-cm) integrated screen that displays the instruments digitally. That display changes to match the Tourer’s shifting into COMFORT, SPORT and ECO PRO driving modes.
The BMW Concept Active Tourer also boasts a heads-up display showing speed, speed limits, overtaking bans, navigation aids and other warnings, plus there is an 8-inch (20.3-cm) central information display with sat nav and hybrid status information.
Overhead, the Tourer has a panoramic sunroof that uses Suspended Particle Device (SPD) technology that can adjust the composite glass to the desired opaqueness and temperature. Meanwhile, the back seats have plenty of legroom, as well as places to clip on folding tables and to hang tablets for personalized entertainment.