BMW has released the first details of its Active Tourer concept vehicle. If its advanced technologies make it into a future production version, the resulting car promises to be one of the most significant in the company's history.
It will be one of the stars of the BMW line-up at next week's Paris Motor Show.
The Active Tourer has a rather un-BMW-like compact semi-MPV body style, but that's the least of this car's departures from the Bavarian manufacturer's traditional way of doing things. That body conceals a plug-in petrol hybrid drive-train capable of powering the Active Tourer for around 30km in electric-only mode after a top-up from the mains. The electric motor is paired with a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine.
The rear wheels are driven by the electric motor, and front pair by the petrol engine - and that's probably the biggest shock of all, given BMW's long attachment to the benefits of rear-wheel drive. This set-up is based on the power-train that will be seen in the much sportier i8.
The combination of electric and petrol power produces a total power output of 139kW. That's enough, BMW reckons, for a top speed of 200km/h and a 0-100km/h acceleration time of less than eight seconds - impressive figures if the car also achieves anything like the claimed 2.4L/100km and sub-60g/km CO2 emissions.
BMW isn't being specific about production plans but says the Active Tourer "presents a real opportunity for the continued growth of the BMW brand".