CarAdvice's spies in Germany spotted the prototype model leaving a BMW compound with the brand's i3 electric/hybrid city car in tow, with the otherwise standard looking 2 Series Active Tourer model given away by "Hybrid Test Vehicle" stickers around the car.
Details as to what powertrain hides under the unassuming skin of this test car remain unclear, but the original BMW Concept Active Tourer featured a all-wheel-drive layout, with its plug-in hybrid drivetrain producing more than 140kW of power between its front-driving three-cylinder petrol engine and rear-mounted electric motor, the latter of which was capable of sending 200Nm to the back tyres instantaneously.
The concept was able to run in EV mode for more than 20 kilometres, with a combined fuel use average of about 2.5L/100km. BMW uses similar technology in the i8 and returns a claimed average of 2.1L/100km.
BMW Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker told CarAdvice there's currently no confirmation of a plug-in hybrid version of the 2 Series Active Tourer, but that it appears clear the brand is using plug-in hybrids as a means of bridging the gap between its conventional petrol and diesel versions and the flagship i3 and i8 eco models.
"Obviously showcasing our development with that sort of technology and expanding the hybridisation of the models in our range, it stands to reason we'll investigate this technology in future models," Croaker said.
"At this stage there's no confirmation," Croaker said of the chances of the petrol-electric MPV selling locally, but indicated that BMW Australia would be keen to see as many plug-in models in its line-up as possible.
"Once we launch our i3 and i8 cars, which will cement electric mobility in the BMW brand, we'll look to offer more hybrids in 2015 and beyond," he said, hinting the brand may offer the production BMW X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid if it is made available.