BMW Builds an Elantra GT PHEV-12
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but from BMW?
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Sept. 15, 2012
BMW’s Active Tourer PHEV-12 Concept - Ready for Paris but is it ready for us?
BMW is releasing a PHEV concept at the 2012 Paris Motor Show which is supposed to be the first in the premium compact segment to combine comfort and space with dynamic performance and style. Is that not the entire compact segments mantra right now?
According to BMW, growth rates of up to five percent per annum are expected in the Premium B and C-segments of in the coming years and they do not want to miss out.
As a PHEV, the BMW Active Tourer Concept is a simple look ahead at future drivetrains. The eDrive concept from the BMW i8 is used here for the first time in a C-segment vehicle and is said to be the future designation for all BMW electric and PHEV drivetrains.
BMW Active Tourer Concept Outside
The new BMW Active Tourer Concept combines larger C-Segment dimensions with an attractive design. Provided with a 105.1 in wheelbase, exterior length of 171.3 in., a width of 72.2 in. and a total height of 61.4 in., the BMW Active Tourer Concept is dimensionally a few more cu. ft. larger than the “Hot” C-segment hatches. The current Elantra GT on the other hand includes a 104.3 in wheelbase, 169.3 in length, 70.1 in. width and 57.9 in height.
The Active Tourer Concept’s departure from the segment comes about through the higher roof line similar to a Prius v or C-MAX allowing what should be more passenger and even cargo volume as the PHEV Li-Ion pack is housed entirely underneath the rear load floor.
BMW Active Tourer Concept Design
Like the best hot hatches currently available in Europe, the Active Tourer’s compact dimensions are skillfully interwoven with dynamic design. The BMW Concept Active Tourer retains the unmistakably characteristic BMW dual kidney grille worked. The twin wraparound headlamps with LED and the multi-faceted front apron combine to create a very Elantra GT like appearance.
The elongated silhouette with its suggested wedge shape gives the BMW Concept Active Tourer a dynamic feel even when stationary - something which BMW claims is unique in the class all the while we have been driving it for the last two months?
Integrated door openers and contrasted side sills with their rising shadow line combine with large 20 in. wheels to give the BMW Active Tourer Concept its elegant appearance. Short body overhangs at the front and rear and the long wheelbase make for an attractive grocery getter while still providing a larger interior volume despite the vehicle's compact exterior dimensions. The raised roof line and large doors at front and rear promise convenient access to all seats.
At the rear, the BMW Active Tourer Concept is characterized by pronounced horizontal body lines and large rear wraparound taillight lenses over the beefy wheel arches just like the current Elantra GT. The large tailgate with low load sill and wide opening provides convenient access to the luggage compartment.
Some of BMW’s X3/X5 hatch design highlights showing up in the rear.
Inside the Active Tourer Concept, it is pure BMW
The Active Tourer concept is refreshingly open and new. The open-pore laminated wood milled from a single block provides the visual link between the upper and low decor surfaces of the instrument panel (IP). This creates a very elegant impression up front. The door trim panels and seats are covered in light, velvety soft full-grain and smooth leather providing the standard luxury look and feel of a premium class automobile.
The centre console appears to hover between the two front seats with a smooth transition to the dashboard although this making it to production is suspect at best.
The cockpit includes BMWs infamous attention to driver orientation with easy access to all the main controls. The circular instruments in Black Panel Technology are within the driver's field of vision, as is the monitor of the central information display. As an optional extra, a full-color Head-Up-Display appears on a special retracting glass surface between the steering wheel and windscreen - a first in the compact segment. Taking advantage of the raised roof, the interior designers were able to install raised seats for a more commanding position ensuring and excellent all-round field of view.
A highlight of the BMW Concept Active Tourer is the multifunction instrument display. Instead of a conventional instrument cluster with four analog circular instruments providing the driver with information on speed, engine speed, fuel level and oil temperature, there is a 10.25-inch integrated display screen.
The BMW Active Tourer Concept is fitted with the latest-generation multicolor Heads-Up Display. It projects all important information in high resolution directly into the field of vision of the driver via a retracting glass surface and automatically adapts to the light available. Current speed and speed limits, navigation assistance and a range of warnings can be displayed at the drivers whim.
A central 8 in touch screen display takes care of the menu guidance and route planning functions in the new navigation system.
Not just a Panoramic roof, a shade changing Panoramic roof
It’s called "Cool Shade" and changes opacity with the press of a button similar to the windows on the all-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner long distance jet.
An innovative composite glass panorama sunroof with innovative Suspended Particle Device (SPD) technology extends across the entire roof surface. This technology allows the driver to control the amount of exterior light getting in from clear to blacked out with the touch of a button.
Rear passengers will be provided what BMW says is generous leg space thanks to the reasonable wheelbase although past BMWs have been lacking in this area by comparison to their far less expensive competitors.
The slightly raised roof does provide passengers more headroom and with the more flat roof surface, would allow easier ingress/egress than the C-segment hatches we drive today. BMW surely learned from their X series vehicles in the regard.
The luggage compartment is versatile thanks to 40/20/40 split fold rear seats and a flat load floor when all three back seat sections are lowered.
The BMW Active Tourer Concept offers a new Travel & Comfort System where a centrally located vertical metal track is integrated into the back of the front seats allowing a folding table to be attached. What it is for is the ever present laptop or tablet to be directly mounted for ease of use form the back seats.
Since it’s a concept, most of the pizzaz will disappear but the suede hood and dash mat, cloth
inserts, leather dash and door trim are going to make it into this one if BMW goes ahead.
BMW Active Tourer Concept Drivetrain
The drivetrain is a PHEV providing short range all-electric efficiency and combustion engine range with a good dose of performance. The PHEV is spec’ed with over 12.5 miles of all-electric range (AER) on the NEDC so expect a 10 to 12 mile AER if it were to ever arrive in the states. A state-of-the-art 190 HP , direct injected and turbo’ed with fully variable valve control system (VALVETRONIC) 1.5L gas engine provides the power while a single 147 lb-ft of torque synchronous electric motor provides the slower speed efficiency.
Over all, the Active Tourer Concept is rated at 94 mpgUS combined on the NEDC although no estimated fuel economy figures were provided when driven in a mixed hybrid mode. Given this concept is only in the initial stages of testing if one is even built, all of the fuel economy figures may be closer to fairy dust then actual wheels on the road and gas in the tank estimates.
The Active Tourer Concept is fitted with the ECO PRO which by driver choice can reduce the power drawn by A/C and other electrically powered comfort functions.
ECO PRO mode also provides the driver with possibly more efficient navigation routing, an anticipatory transmission assistant optimizes the electronic transmission control system for heavy climbs or descents along the route selected and can activate the two levels of Glide. The engine can be taken off line up to 77 mph while the transmission can be decoupled from the drive wheels as up to a speed of 99 mph allowing the kinetic energy currently stored to be used far more efficiently than engine braking with fuel cut.
It looks great as it should. It should provide more head room making it not only more comfortable but easier to get into and out of by comparison to the smaller C-segment offerings on ht e road today. Versatility with the split fold down rear seats is standard fair and the interior from first glance is a segment leading addition that Lexus, Mercedes and Audi will have to catch up to.
On the drivetrain front, wow! An efficient 190 HP with up to 18-miles of all-electric propulsion for the local drives, surely a very efficient hybrid solution in mixed mode and for the nut cases who think WOT is good for anything but killing somebody else, they have a little of that too.
All in, it is a very appealing design, very functional inside and is most certainly efficient. The question will be at what cost would it possibly be brought to marketplace? The latest BMW hybrid drivetrain equipped performance sedans are not at all competitively priced with anything on the market. SO much so that even die hard BMW owners have passed on their selection and of course the payments.
Finally, when will Hyundai/Kia offer a similar platform minus the interior luxury amenities for the rest of us at < ½ the price?
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