The BMW Concept Active Tourer might make you swear like a furious trucker. Not
because it is a compact, everyday, multi-purpose vehicle with a plug-in hybrid power train
– but because its petrol engine powers the front wheels. That, worryingly, suggests it is far
from the 'ultimate driving machine'. Insert profanity... here. This layout is a striking contrast
to BMW's current range. The 1 Series, after all, sends its power to the rear wheels. The
same can be said for the 3, 5, 6, and 7 Series – plus the Z4. And yes... the BMW X1, X3,
X5, and X6 have either rear or four-wheel-drive. That is because front-wheel-drive cars
tend to under-steer when pushed, i.e. run wide on corners. That is fine in an old lady's
supermini loaded with Werther's Original - but not a new BMW. These are supposed to
But hang on... the BMW Concept Active Tourer might also make you swear with joy. It
has been hinted, after all, that this concept returns 113mpg and has emissions of 60g/km.
That is remarkable... and justifies colourful language. Power comes from a 1.5-litre three-
cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor for the rear wheels. The latter can power this
five-seater alone for up to twenty miles. But together they produce 188bhp and propel
language lovers to 62mph in less than eight seconds. Crumb of comfort, perhaps? The
Concept Active Tourer also has a beautifully lit space age cabin - but any production trim
could be watered down. And we should also be realistic about the lack of rear-wheel-drive.
Why? Because this is an MPV not a speedy M5, it might yet handle beautifully, and many
people struggle to distinguish front/rear-wheel drive on the road. Mind your language, then.