Providing an early look at the future of its entry-level front-drive vehicle lines - including an upcoming addition to the 1 Series family -- the BMW Concept Active Tourer makes its debut at the 2012 Paris Auto Show. Based on next-gen platform architecture, this premium 5-door plug-in hybrid uses one of the automaker's new 3-cylinder turbocharged/direct-injected engines slated to appear in upcoming BWW and Mini product to drive its front wheels. That gasoline-fired engine is teamed with the firm's latest eDrive system that includes an electric motor, controller unit and lithium-ion battery pack to power the rear wheels.

Unmistakably BMW in character, exterior styling for the Concept Active Tourer incorporates a number of cues from its 3 Series and 5 Series CUV kin. Finished in exclusive High Reflection Silver, this compact crossover features a relatively short hood, compact overhangs and a wedge-shaped profile complemented by bold side sculpting, prominently flared fenders filled with 20-inch alloy wheels and striking LED-enhanced front/rear lighting elements. Large doors ease passenger entry/exit while a generously proportioned rear hatch facilitates cargo loading/unloading. The vehicle is crowned by a "Cool Shade" panorama glass roof that features BMW's brand of electro-chromic variability, dubbed Suspended Particle Device (SPD) technology, which allows it to be lighted/darkened at the press of a button.

Inside, the Concept Active Tourer introduces a new take on BMW design that places even greater emphasis on optimized space and elegant ambiance. Light leather set off with orange contrast stitching covers the seats and door panels while open-pore laminated wood enriches the dash. Black Panel Technology with a 10.25-inch display screen is used for the main instrument cluster and associated driver-selectable supplemental information, all of which is presented in a user-friendly color-coded format. An 8.0-inch center display handles traditional audio, navigation and climate control information as well as keeping the driver posted on the current operational state of the car's hybrid system. The Concept Active Tourer also features BMW's latest-generation multicolor head-up display. Presented on a retractable transparent screen that automatically adapts to changing lighting conditions, it too offers the driver an unprecedented choice of primary and secondary readouts.

In addition to generous head and legroom, the aft quarters of the BMW Concept Active Tourer displays numerous other thoughtful design touches. Its 40/20/40 split/reclining rear bench can be folded completely flat when cargo toting takes priority. On the passenger-pleasing front, the
Travel & Comfort System features an innovative clip-on track system located on the rear of the front seatbacks that allows a number of items including folding tables, tablet computers and storage bags to be attached by means of a quick fastener. The Concept Active Tourer even boasts its own iPad app, "Seismic Surf," which creates an interactive game world in real time. Players in the rear seat use acceleration figures, engine speed and other data bits supplied continuously by the vehicle to collect points by "driving" along a virtual route in the most efficient manner possible.

Although impressively reinforcing the firm's high-profile commitment to efficiency and sustainable mobility, the Concept Active Tourer does break a longstanding BMW tradition of producing vehicles with longitudinally mounted engines and primary rear-drive configurations. However, with its plug-in hybrid design, this precursor to future entry-level BMW models embraces the best of both worlds. Under its hood resides a transversely oriented TwinPower Turbo 1.5-liter/3-cylinder engine. Latest addition to BMW's Efficient Dynamics family, it shares basic architecture with other TwinPower Turbo inline-6 engines, including a sophisticated dual-scroll turbocharger, direct fuel injection and Valvetronic variable valve control. It's backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels.

On the hybrid side, the Concept Active Tourer is fitted with a synchronous electric motor, also developed by BMW and fed by a lithium-ion battery pack located under the floor. Exclusively driving the rear wheels, it can produce 220 lb-ft of additional torque and brings the Concept Active Tourer's total system output to 190 horsepower. BMW says its new plug-in hybrid can run 0-62 mph in less than 8.0 seconds, top out around 125 mph and travel up to 18 miles on pure electric power while netting roughly 113 mpg and producing less than 60g/km of CO2 emissions. 

Like many of its hybrid contemporaries, the Concept Active Tourer features a host of purpose-tuned efficiency enhancing touches. These include regenerative braking, a Start/Stop system, articulated control flaps for the intake air and a high-output generator on the engine. BMW's own ECO PRO system also does its part, and supports a dual-mode coasting program that can completely decouple the gasoline engine from the driveline under non-load conditions between 31 and 99 mph. 

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