News: BMW 2 Series Active eDrive - all-wheel drive thanks to an electric motor

The ability to use a plug-in hybrid was created in the development of the 2er Active Tourer. All units can be placed in such a targeted manner that the double-hearted version has the same load space as the normal model.

It's still a bit difficult to get used to the 2er Active Tourer. On BMW with front-wheel drive and large tailgate, which is in direct competition with the VW Golf. The customers of Munich see things differently and buy so hard that the Leipzig plant works at the limits of its capacity. In addition to the extended 2er Grand Tourer, you will soon be able to order a rather unusual model. The five-door will then appear as a plug-in hybrid with all-wheel drive. The well-known three-cylinder petrol engine is coupled with a powerful electric motor, the battery of which can also be charged at the socket. Together, the engines come on 188 kW / 224 PS.

It is scorching hot on the huge test area of ​​the BMW in Miramar near Marseille. No tree provides shade, the sky over France shines in postcard blue. From the direction of the 2er you can hear the whirring of the air conditioning. The flanks are covered with patterned camouflage foil. Because the development team is already on the move with the prototype outside of the protected company premises and wants to make work more difficult for lurking photographers. The new thing about the 2er is not recognizable anyway. It resembles its normal counterpart down to the smallest detail.

The same applies to the interior. A difference is only visible after the start button is pressed, when the instruments are brought to life. In the central cockpit, a small display informs about the purely electrically possible range. On the central screen in the middle, the occupants can see which of the two engines is currently active. As with the gene donor BMW 218i Active Tourer, the 1,5-liter three-cylinder twin-turbo and 100 kW / 136 PS, the weakest petrol engine in the series, operate above the front axle. He is responsible for the front-wheel drive, but has a break when driving. "Whenever possible and sensible, we use the electric motor," explains developer Uwe Seitz. "That's why the" Comfort "mode is initially activated by default, with both engines depending on the driver's activity."

So the test BMW only sets the 65 kW / 88 PS strong electric motor in motion, which drives the rear wheels. Only at 80 km / h, the petrol engine joins the drive. Completely jerk-free, only the subtle, familiar sound of the three-cylinder confirms that it has started work. When driving over the test course, both engines alternate depending on the position of the accelerator pedal. If both are in action in an intermediate sprint, the power of the otherwise rather decent 2er becomes clear: Because together they sport a pulling power of 385 Newton meters, which would do honor even to a strong diesel engine. When the petrol engine is running, it switches to a six-speed automatic, in e-mode there are two stages.

The new thing about the 2er cannot be seen optically. It resembles its normal counterpart down to the smallest detail.
The new thing about the 2er cannot be seen optically. It resembles its normal counterpart down to the smallest detail.

Seitz explains the "intelligence" of the system that works with the navigation system: "If route guidance is active, the most effective use of the available energy is automatically calculated, with priority given to the electrical component". Time to switch to the operating mode called "Max EDrive". Here the internal combustion engine is sent on forced leave. At 130 km / h there is an electronic speed brake that can only be overcome by a hard step on the accelerator (“kick down”). The journey in this mode can not last quite 40 kilometers if you are driving at moderate speed in city traffic. If such a tour ends at the end of the day in the garage at home, the battery can be recharged using a socket. It takes two and a half hours on a so-called “wall box”, and one hour longer on the normal household socket.

But the petrol engine also plays the role of the charge master. If the battery goes out while the juice is out, it automatically starts the revival. This takes a few kilometers, but it still flies in comparison to the docking at the socket. An important function, because the battery of the Active Tourer should never be empty. Finally, it must be ready at all times to activate the four-wheel drive. It is automatically switched on when better grip of the wheels is required. Whether it's wet, snow or any other risk of slipping, when quickly turning bends or when accelerating powerfully, such as when overtaking. For this purpose, the system is networked with the electronic anti-skid system, which BMW calls “DSC”.

Those who want to be sporty on the way, choose the sport attitude. In her, the Stromer in the stern will always be in operation together with its front partner. The power is added and thus reaches the maximum value of 188 kW / 224 PS. By the way, the battery is constantly being charged, so that when you're romping around, only the tank capacity sets the limit. If you want to be on the road like this, you will never reach the standard consumption of just two liters per 100 kilometer in the Eco-BMW, ​​you have to get used to a safe double-digit figure. But who buys such a car, probably belongs more to the careful contemporaries.

With the 2er Active Tourer, the possibility of using a plug-in hybrid was created during development. All units can be placed in such a targeted manner that the double-hearted version has the same load space as the normal model. The storage compartment underneath the trunk floor was also retained.

BMW customers only have to wait a year before the 2er powered in this way can park in front of their own door. Of course, BMW is not yet talking about prices, but they should be on the level of today's top model 225i Active Tourer. With around 40.000 Euro you would be there.

Author: Peter Maahn / SP-X

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