The BMW 2-Series Active Tourer is unlike any BMW we’ve seen before. For starters, the vehicle sends drive to front wheels in standard form and in some markets the engine will have just three cylinders. It should probably come as no surprise then that BMW sees the 2-Series Active Tourer as a conquest model: the automaker expects as much as 75 percent of buyers to be new to the brand.

“We are expecting the Active Tourer will have a conquest rate of around 75 percent," BMW product manager Frank Niederländer told Automotive News (subscription required).

Niederländer is quick to point out that the 2-Series Active Tourer will still offer the sporty characteristics the BMW brand is renowned for. He points out that BMW has more than a decade of experience working with front-wheel-drive cars through its MINI brand, which also uses the UKL platform underpinning the new 2-Series Active Tourer.

There has also been extensive fine-tuning of the chassis paired with new innovations such as a single-joint spring strut front axle for the suspension, aimed at improving handling. BMW says the 2-Series Active Tourer will even lap the Nürburgring in less than nine minutes.

The 2-Series Active Tourer goes on sale in Europe later this year, initially with three gasoline and three diesel engines on offer. The most potent model at present is the 225i, which sports a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivering 231 horsepower. It will sprint from 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 146 mph. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, with an eight-speed auto available as an option. A plug-in hybrid model is expected at a later date.

The 2-Series Active Tourer is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. early next year, as a 2016 model.