Published on July 21st, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW 2-Series Minivan Will Hit Hard At Benz & VW Minivans
BMW has a brand new vehicle which we have asked their product planners for years to introduce to the market. A compact MPV. BMW marketers have always replied that the brand looks only at performance and excitement in all its products and so a MPV does not fit their brand image. Well all that has changed now and BMW has a MPV, the 2-Series Active Tourer in its stable and it is set for Malaysian introduction soon. BMW expects that 3 out of every 4 buyers of its 2-series Active Tourer minivan (MPV) will be new to the brand.
The model is the first modern era front-wheel-drive BMW, breaking with a tradition for rear-wheel-drive cars that the brand has long considered part of its identity. It’s no surprise that the company believes the bulk of the model’s volumes will come from customers of other brands who never before bought a BMW. BMW expects the minivan to win customers who would otherwise buy vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz B class or Volkswagen Touran.
Launching a minivan will help lure to the marque younger families, who often stay customers of the brand as they get older. BMW also forecasts demand for luxury compact cars like the Active Tourer will grow faster over the next 10 years than for the overall premium market.
BMW will offer three gasoline and three diesels engines to European customers for the model. The 2-series Active Tourer will go on sale in Europe in September with prices starting at 27,200 Euros in Germany. The model launches in China in January and in the United States early next year. The 2-series Active Tourer shared its platform, code-named UKL, with the latest-generation Mini.
Niederlaender said developing a minivan that is sporty enough for the brand despite the lack of rear-wheel drive was significantly easier because of the know-how gained from group’s smaller Mini brand. “Through Mini we have more than 10 years experience with front-wheel-drive cars,” Niederlaender said.
Engineers at BMW believe, for example, that extensive fine-tuning paired with new chassis innovations such as a single-joint spring strut front axle will help give the Active Tourer the agility and handling typical of a BMW.
During lane change tests, BMW said it achieved lateral acceleration values and drive-through times on par with the high standard of rear-wheel-drive vehicles. It even claims the top-of-the-range 225i, which will start at 37,950 euros in Germany, can lap the famed Nuerburgring racetrack in less than 9 minutes.
“The Active Tourer offers precisely the driving fun that constitutes the fascination of a BMW,” said Siegfried Mueller, development project manager for the minivan. Next, BMW plans to launch a longer version of the Active Tourer with three rows of seats to accommodate seven passengers. A plug-in hybrid will follow with nine more BMW-brand derivatives off its front-wheel-drive architecture planned for the future.