With its BMW i3 and i8 plug-in cars already on the market and the BMW X5 xDrive plug-in hybrid waiting in the wings for impending launch, it’s no secret that BMW sees plug-in cars as being an internal part of its future model lineup alongside super-efficient gasoline, diesel and hydrogen fuel cell models.
Indeed, for the past few years, we’ve heard a steady stream of rumors from sources both inside and outside BMW suggesting that the entire brand is looking to go zero emission by 2020, with plug-in hybrid, all-electric, or hydrogen fuel cell variants of every BMW model currently on the market.
It’s no surprise then that BMW showcased a new plug-in hybrid prototype in the form of a 2 Series Active Tourer plug-in hybrid at its recent BMW Group Innovation Day, held at the Miramas test track in France.
Unlike other plug-in hybrids we’ve seen from BMW thus far, the 2 Series Active Tourer stands out from the rest of the BMW family for serval reasons. First, it is based on BMW’s UKL platform — a platform which currently underpins all of BMW’s MINI-brand cars. Second, it uses the same through-the road hybrid setup as BMW’s high-end i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.
That translates to a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine and six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels, with an 65 kilowatt-electric motor driving the rear wheels. This means that the 2 Series Active Tourer can operate in all-wheel drive when powered by both drivetrains.
While BMW hasn’t detailed a combined power output of both drivetrains, it has given a 0-62 mph time of 6.5 seconds when in sport mode, with an estimated 117 MPGe in hybrid operational mode. Range meanwhile is a paltry 23 miles per charge, placing the 2 Series Active Tourer prototype into the same category of plug-in hybrids as cars like the Volkswagen Golf GTE, Audi A3 e-tron and perhaps the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid.
Like other BMW plug-in models we’ve seen demonstrated, the 2 Series Active Tourer plug-in hybrid features the same familiar driving modes as other BMW-branded cars on the market today. There’s a Comfort and Sport setting, each of which do pretty much what the name would suggest, while Eco Pro mode tweaks the vehicle’s accelerator mapping and shifting characteristics to maximise fuel economy.
In addition, the plug-in hybrid drivetrain is configurable via an eDrive button on the centre console, which allows drivers to choose between Auto eDrive, Max eDrive, and Save Battery. Roughly translated, Auto eDrive — the default setting when powering on — automatically chooses either blended power, all-electric or gasoline mode as the car’s onboard computer sees fit, while Max eDrive entered into all-electric mode. In this mode, the car has a top speed of 81 mph, while acceleration is noticeably slower than in Sport mode.
Save Battery, as the name suggests, keeps the car’s high-voltage battery pack at or above 50 percent state of charge, using the gasoline engine to charge the battery pack if its state of charge falls below that figure. This allows the driver to reserve some all-electric operation for later in a trip.
Sadly, there’s no details on if or when the 2 Series Active Tourer will make it to market, but as our friends at GreenCarReports note, it’s unlikely if the prototype shown in France will make it to the U.S., since the 2 Series Active Tourer — currently available in Europe — isn’t produced in any guise for the U.S. market at the time of writing.
What we will say, however, is that given the UKL underpinnings, this 2 Series Active Tourer plug-in hybrid porotoype could hint at the specifications for the future plug-in hybrid MINI model BMW has been promising us for some time.
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