Recently I caught a lot of flack for my views on the BMW M3 and the probable introduction of an optional all-wheel drive in the future. While some may call me a bit of a hard headed when it comes to changes, the recently introduced BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and the just released BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer do make me somewhat happy.
While the purists are screaming murder, there are others that see the potential in BMW minivans.
While the whole idea of a BMW minivan makes more than a few BMW enthusiasts cringe, the potential sales and the premium design of a high-class soccer mom automobile make could change some opinions down the road.
So I decided to look at some of the reasons why the new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer and the previously launched Active Tourer could find place in a lot of European homes in the future.
Purists generally don’t have an objection to the design of the Active Tourer, or the Gran Tourer for that matter. Many understand that there are only so many ways one can design a minivan and in all fairness, BMW design team has done a good job with their first vans.
The boxy vans feature the typical design cues, starting with the A-pillar and short bonnet, and ending with the D-pillar and upright rear-end. The two front-wheel drive minivans retain though the typical BMW design elements: kidney grille, L-shaped rear lights and double round headlamps.
Without a doubt, one of the first requirements for a minivan is …drum roll…utility. That’s right, utility makes or breaks a minivan, and the more features package in and outside the car, the better for sales. In all fairness though, the BMW X5 offers similar interior cabin space and gadgetry, but at a much higher price. The lack of a true seven-seater SUV also gives the Gran Tourer and Active Tourer room in the BMW lineup.
With the 2 Series Gran Tourer, there is no real need to buy an X5, if space and utility are the main purchasing criteria. And those that want xDrive, well, BMW offers the intelligent all-wheel drive system in the minivans as well. The xDrive option makes it even more attractive for younger families in the Northern parts of the world as well.
3. Overall Appeal
This builds atop the two previous points and somewhat brings the conclusion home. Truth is that BMW needed a minivan, and a fairly affordable one, to stay competitive in the premium segment. Both Audi and Mercedes are pumping lots of R&D money in future products, niche or mainstream, so BMW needs a new area to grow into. The front-wheel drive, with its cost advantage and new packaging, can offer that.
There are still plenty of customers out there that are not looking for an SUV, nor for a sedan, so previously they would have to turn to another automaker to fulfill their needs. No more. Now BMW offers an option for almost everyone and we can already see the BMW minivans becoming as popular as tourings in Europe.
BMW can also get a younger demographic in their cars, one that loves the roundel but previously didn’t have the budget for it. So a new generation of bimmer fans will be born.