Skip to main content

BMW’s Active Tourer front-wheel drive minivan is a heresy twofer – and coming Statside in 2015

The BMW Active Tourer is coming to the United States 2015. And don’t let those trustworthy seeming Bavarians fool you: it’s a minivan.

Not only is it a minivan, it’s also the first front-wheel drive Bimmer, making it a heresy twofer. So why in god’s name is BMW unleashing a car that is the opposite of everything it has ever stood for? Well, partly to make money and partly because this car is actually going to be really good, I assume.

First: the money. When BMW released the 1-Series in the United States, 80 percent of the customers were new to the brand. Those are the sorts of numbers that make marketing and sales executives foam at the mouth and become inappropriately excited.

BMW told Automotive News at the LA Auto Show that it hopes to achieve some of the same effects with the Active Tourer. The entry-level crossover market BMW hopes to capture is a very lucrative one. And that brings us neatly to why the Active Tourer is probably going to be a very good vehicle.

As my editor Nick Jaynes recently pointed out, “Germans don’t make bad cars.” It is shocking how true this is. There are plenty of German cars I don’t like, or wouldn’t actually buy, but I can’t think of a genuinely bad German car in the last five years. So the baseline for the Active Tourer is high. 

On top of that, the Teutonic minivan will have some serious ecological and economic cred, as it will with the option of being a plug-in hybrid. As with just about all-modern Bimmers, it should also enjoy a lot of high-tech options and extremely solid initial quality. 

With front-wheel drive and either a three- or four-cylinder engine shared from the new Mini, don’t expect the Active Tourer to be very dynamic or interesting to drive. But then again that’s not the point. 

The Active Tourer is just another step in BMW’s long journey away from being purely a performance car manufacturer. That may be bad for Bimmer purists – or even just fans of performance in general – but its good for everyone else.

So grumble all you want about its new minivan. But BMW executives will be laughing all the way to the bank. 

Peter Braun
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Peter is a freelance contributor to Digital Trends and almost a lawyer. He has loved thinking, writing and talking about cars…
Tesla Model 3 vs. Hyundai Ioniq 6: Which electric sedan is best?
Front three quarter view of the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6.

There are finally some more electric sedan options. For years, the Tesla Model 3 was really the only good electric sedan that comes at a reasonable price -- until, Hyundai recently launched the Ioniq 6. The Ioniq 6 certainly takes some cues from the larger Ioniq 5, but is smaller and sleeker, with a design seemingly inspired by the Porsche 911.

But the Tesla Model 3 is still clearly an excellent option for those looking for an electric car, and who don't want a larger crossover. Which is better? Here's a look.
The exterior design of the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 is quite different. If you've seen a Tesla car before, then you'll immediately recognize the Model 3 -- it looks largely like a slightly different version of every other Tesla (except the Cybertruck).

Read more
Scout Motors Electric SUV: rumored price, release date, design, and more
Scout SUV Teaser

There's another electric SUV on the way, and this one comes with a familiar name. Volkswagen is reviving the classic Scout name for a new electric SUV that's billed as being an "RUV," or a rugged utility vehicle. And, it could well prove itself as the best electric SUV in its price range, when it does finally come out.

The new EV isn't due out for quite some time, but there's already a fair bit that we know about it. Curious to learn more? Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Scout SUV.
There's very little we actually know about the Scout SUV so far, but we do know a little about the eventual design. A few teasers for the upcoming vehicle have been released, showing sketches of both the SUV and the accompanying pickup truck, along with what's presumably the front of the SUV -- though in a dark environment, with little detail.

Read more
Volkswagen ID.GTI concept is another icon reimagined as an EV
Front three quarter view of the Volkswagen ID.GTI concept.

Volkswagen reinvented one of its most iconic models with the ID.Buzz, a modern, all-electric homage to the classic Microbus. But that's not the only fan favorite vehicle currently in the automaker's catalog.

Debuting at the 2023 Munich Auto Show, the Volkswagen ID.GTI concept aims to do for the Golf GTI hot hatchback — VW's signature performance car — what the ID.Buzz did for the Microbus. VW claims a production version has already been given the green light, although it won't say when it will appear.

Read more