Active Tourer: BMW family van attacks German competition

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BMW family van attacks German competition

Active Tourer: BMW family van attacks German competition-

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It is still just a study, but in 18 months the BMW van should go into series production as a competitor to the Golf Plus and the Mercedes B-Class.

Source: BMW

Active Tourer: BMW family van attacks German competition- The developers are still concealing the upheaval for the trade fair with a plug-in concept and an electric rear axle, … ">

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The drive represents a small revolution. The developers are still concealing the upheaval for the trade fair with a plug-in concept and an electric rear axle,…

Source: BMW

Active Tourer: BMW family van attacks German competition-

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… but for the first time a BMW is driven via the front axle.

Source: BMW

Active Tourer: BMW family van attacks German competition-

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Although almost as long as the 1s at 4.35 meters (but 14 centimeters higher), the Active Tourer should therefore look just as strong and sleek.

Source: BMW

Active Tourer: BMW family van attacks German competition-

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Many elements in the futuristic interior have little chance of being implemented in series. The iPads networked with the on-board computer for the passengers in the back seat, the beConsoles lit up in the doors and cockpit and the automatic shading of the glass roof was probably only installed for the trade fair.

Source: BMW

Active Tourer: BMW family van attacks German competition-

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The van also manages without the long hood that is typical of BMW.

Source: BMW

Active Tourer: BMW family van attacks German competition-

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Depending on the brightness setting, lighting moods can be created via the special structure of the panorama roof.

Source: BMW

Active Tourer: BMW family van attacks German competition-

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In terms of dimensions, it is reminiscent of the X1 off-road vehicle, but it is still just a concept car.

Source: BMW

BMW had always blocked itself against a five-seater with a high roof and a steep rear. Now the manufacturer is bringing out a van. And that with front-wheel drive. As competition to the B-Class.

E.s are just three letters: VAN. But with the best will in the world, they do not come out of Michael de Bono’s lips. As well as? In his company, something as nasty as the concept of a people carrier was frowned upon for years. When the BMW designer talks about his latest draft, he is talking about a “Concept Active Tourer”. The shell, however, reveals that the Munich manufacturer is actually entering the league of family carriages.

BMW struggled with the attributes big and massive. The station wagon was created 25 years ago in a guerrilla campaign after work, and the clumsy luxury cruiser 5 Series GT proved to be a taste test for engineers and customers alike. At the Paris Salon in two weeks’ time, the brand breaks the taboo, then a kind of B-Class from Bavaria will be unveiled: a five-seater with a high roof and steep rear, which will debut in 18 months with cars like the Golf Plus from VW, the C-Max from Ford and the B-Class from Mercedes will compete.

From three cylinders up to 225 hp

And it gets even worse for die-hard BMW enthusiasts. Not only the cut is extremely unusual for Bayern. The drive system also represents a small revolution. The developers are still concealing the upheaval for the trade fair with a plug-in concept and an electric rear axle that can drive the car for over 30 kilometers on its own, with an average consumption of 2.5 liters presses.

But for the first time, a BMW is mainly powered by the front axle. A new, transversely mounted generation of three-cylinder engines with a displacement of 1.5 liters, which will be available as gasoline and diesel engines with up to 225 hp by the time the Active Tourer is launched, has an impact on them.

With the new drives, BMW is saying goodbye to being different, to its unique selling point. Up to the current one, the manufacturer praised rear-wheel drive as the only true drive train. No other drive concept promises such dynamic driving behavior and such quick cornering passages. Cars like the Audi A3 and the Mercedes A-Class were only mildly ridiculed by BMW decision-makers.

Small BMW models without rear-wheel drive

The image change is well calculated. The larger the number of items, the lower the vehicle manufacturing costs. This is especially true for the expensive substructure of the vehicles. That is why the group will be mini in the future and the small BMW models, including the Active Tourer, combined constructively and developed on a common platform. It starts with the next edition of the British miniature, which is expected in late 2013 or early 2014. And then gradually all BMW models below the three will have to say goodbye to rear-wheel drive.

Now it is up to men like Michael de Bono to disguise the break of taboos and to style the car into a “real” BMW just by looking. Although almost as long as the 1s at 4.35 meters (but 14 centimeters higher), the Active Tourer should therefore look just as strong and sleek. “It was not an easy exercise for us because we are otherwise used to longer formats,” says designer de Bono.

At a time when engines are getting smaller and smaller, BMW is now discovering a love for shrinking. De Bono enthuses that there is no other vehicle in this class that looks so dynamic. That may be true. But that is not only due to the strongly curved bonnet and the pronounced flanks.

Lots of space and high seats

It is primarily due to the elaborately designed rims and elements developed in the wind tunnel, such as the chrome-framed air outlet in the bottom of the doors or the spoilers on the steeply sloping rear window. Especially the latter, however, should hardly have a chance in the series.

Unfortunately, this also applies to many elements in the futuristic interior, which offers a surprising amount of space and, with ten centimeters more seat height than the one, offers very easy access and a good all-round view. A sliding back seat, a panoramic roof and a three-way foldable backrest – cars like the B-Class or the Golf Plus also have that. The iPads networked with the on-board computer for the passengers in the back seat, the illuminated consoles in the doors and cockpit and the automatic shading of the glass roof were probably only installed for the trade fair.

With the study, de Bono has already proven that a BMW van can look sporty. But whether it drives like this remains to be seen. Because at least the trade fair model is not designed for much more than walking pace. De Bono is confident there too and refers to the BMW subsidiary Mini. "There we impressively demonstrated that we don’t have to sacrifice driving dynamics with front-wheel drive either."

Risky switch to the van segment

Front-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive and a high roof instead of a coupe line: The automotive industry is following the changes at the Bavarian manufacturer with great interest – and with very different opinions: "A van concept from BMW, that’s a real surprise for me," says Car expert Ferdinand Dudenhoffer from the University of Duisburg-Essen. He calls for more stylistic consistency: "Only the kidney on the grill doesn’t make a BMW."

Instead of a MPV, the specialist would have expected another SUV, for example in the style of the Range Rover Evoque, and considers switching to the van segment to be a step in the wrong direction. “There is a great risk that Bayern will invest in a shrinking segment that will not necessarily strengthen the brand. Car manufacturers want to experiment, but this experiment is not without risk. "

Design and brand critic Paolo Tumminelli, on the other hand, praises BMW for taking the risk: the van-like “potato shape” is gradually establishing itself as the new standard, and BMW can no longer watch it idly. Just as Porsche was scolded for the Cayenne off-road vehicle at the beginning, BMW will initially complain and in the end accept a front-wheel drive van.

Compact ones cause rethinking

“A brand that doesn’t develop is dying,” says Tumminelli. “As seductive as they may appear. The classic brand values ​​of BMW have to be revised anyway, because the time of unrestricted driving pleasure ‘is finally over."

The new compacts are a good opportunity to start this rethinking. Because it’s all about design and certainly not about technology, believes design professor Tumminelli. Most customers no longer know where, how many cylinders are located and which axis they drive. He says: "As long as there are huge kidneys on the front and three letters on the rear, you can see the BMW and you will want it too."

The trip to the presentation of the Concept Active Tourer was supported by BMW. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at www.axelspringer.de/unabhaengigkeit

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