My first reaction: what has this world come to? Second, is it April 1st? Third…well, by the time I got to my third reaction, I was speechless. The rumors of a BMW Van-looking vehicle have been floating around for a few months now and while initially the rumor sounded more futuristic than the last iteration of Star Trek, latest news point out that BMW is indeed considering a Van-like vehicle.
Surprisingly, one rumor and a rendering surface at the same time. Latest edition of respectable German magazine Auto Motor features a rendering of what they label as “BMW Van”. Coincidentally, some of the design lines seen in the rendering align with the latest report by BMW insider Scott27.
The latest rumormill churns out that the BMW mini-van is internally known as the Advanced Family Sports Activity Tourer. The insider says the idea is to mix the space and flexibility of an MPV, the solidity of an SAV with the shape of a larger Touring model, but have maintain the car-like appearance.
With AFAST, short for Advanced Family Sports Activity Tourer, BMW’s ideas are to reinterpret the concept of a van to be more car-like, but without compromising space, flexibility and driving dynamics.
Apparently the BMW AFAST goes to the design table as demanded by customers who want a more premium offering which still fulfills their requirements around a van, but maintains the BMW values. Same insider says this segment will grow to 65% by 2015.
AFAST is said to be the reincarnation of BMW’s RFK project that morphed into the BMW 5er Gran Turismo. The car would be build on the new 3 Series platform, it would maintain the rear-wheel drive architecture. Inside, the car will feature a flexible design with adequate interior and cargo space.
So, there you have it…speechless yet?
While I personally embraced and understood the ideas behind the 5GT, at this point, I certainly cannot understand nor attempt to understand the need of a BMW van. Without having all the facts and the market research, I might be in a blind spot, but here is to hope that BMW will once again deliver a sustainable product, despite being a …mini-van.