Front-Wheel-Drive BMW Concept Active Tourer Outdoor Previews BMW's About-Face Future
In another showing before hitting the public en masse, BMW is showing off its Concept Active Tourer, a front-wheel-drive hatchback that will usher in the next wave of compact BMW vehicles. Called the BMW Concept Active Tourer Outdoor, the new slightly more, um, outdoorsy version of its little hatchback has been painted BMW Exclusive Gold Race Orange instead of the gray color that adorned the first Paris Motor Show concept. Its powertrain remains the same, however, which, in this case, just happens to be a plug-in hybrid system with a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engine. That power is routed through the front wheels. The car, as a whole, should prove more economical than the current rear-wheel-drive BMW 1 Series, which is anticipated to be dropped at some point in favor of the Tourer. BMW says that its Moonrock Grey leather interior is easy to clean up, and the Active Tourer is equipped to handle two bikes inside with built-in racks. The car will be making its debut at Germany's OutDoor Friedrichshafen fair, which runs from today through July 14. Mostly, though, it's an excuse to brace for impact because a brand that has thrown a great deal of its marketing weight behind rear-wheel-drive cars or nothing has finally said that it's not going to stick to its time-honored course. Perhaps that's because it realized that making Mini models is expensive, and it needs to subsidize the costs with more cars using the same architectures. Perhaps it's because it's a lot easier to make a fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive vehicle, and legislation around the world is dictating that cars become more economical. Or that there's a giant frenzy around the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and CLA-Class, and BMW doesn't want to be left behind. BMW executives have told us that the Active Tourer will never come to the U.S., or at least not for a long time, retaining BMW's brand mystique. But most consumers couldn't care less what wheels are driven as long as a car is safe, comfortable, and fits in line with the image built up by the brand. In short, even if this car eventually makes its way to the U.S., there will always be the 3 Series for traditionalists. Source: BMW
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