Hints of a BMW X1 Plug-in Active Tourer

By · April 12, 2013

BMW Active Tourer Concept

BMW Active Tourer Concept looks very similar to recent spy shots of electrified BMW X1.

Although BMW has for a number of years offered its Mini E and ActiveE plug-in cars in customer-leased test fleets, you still can’t buy an all-electric BMW…yet. That will change early next year when the all-electric BMW i3 subcompact goes on sale in the U.S. But with only four seats in its MINI-sized frame, the tiny i3 won’t be suitable for everyone.

BMW has always promised other all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars will follow the i3 to market, including the exotic i8 plug-in hybrid supercar. But for those looking for a slightly more sizable plug-in Beemer, a BMW X1 spotted testing in the Swedish Arctic may hint that BMW's recent Active Tourer Plug-in Hybrid is becoming a reality.


According to Autoevolution and Autobloggreen the unusual X1 appears from a distance to look just like the gasoline-powered X1, which debuted in the U.S. last year.  Unlike the stock 2013 X1 however, this particular X1 lacks tailpipes—not to mention the silent way it was reported to pull away—could mean that it's not powered strictly by dead dinosaurs.

Under E.U. law, certain test vehicles have to display a “Hybrid Test Vehicle” sticker on them, so first responders act accordingly in an accident. The X1 in question does indeed wear them on each of the front doors and rear tailgate. Unlike most hybrid cars we’ve seen however, there’s an apparent lack of emission-spewing apparatus.

Active Tourer Plug-in Hybrid?

The lack of tailpipe is evidence that BMW is working on something with a substantially electrified drivetrain, maybe the Active Tourer Hybrid BMW unveiled at the 2012 Paris Auto Show. (Perhaps the tailpipe is hidden in an unexpected place.)

The platform upon which this concept is based—known as the UKL1—was promised in two wheelbase lengths. BMW said it would be used from late 2013 onwards in both the MINI and 1-series line up. The Active Tourer Hybrid was also powered by a plug-in, all wheel drive hybrid drivetrain and a 1.5-liter three-cylinder direct injection petrol engine. To repeat: the vehicle is still a concept, although BMW set up a dedicated web page to keep interested potential customers informed of future developments.

Range was reported to be up to 18 miles in all-electric mode, while 0-62 mph was quoted at less than 8 seconds.

Given the physical similarities between the X1 and the Active Tourer Concept, there are hints that this mystery vehicle is one of BMW’s early test vehicles for a car to fill a void for a great-driving plug-in that is stylish and practical.

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