If there is an unoccupied niche out there, BMW appears to have plans to formulate a model to exploit it. Having shown off its SUV-cum-sports saloon X6 at the Frankfurt Show last week, the Bavarian marque now turns its attention to those seeking an MPV without the resignation to family life association.
A prototype of what appears to be BMWs long-rumoured V Series (previously dubbed the F3) trundling around Munich. The designers at BMW will probably scowl at the possibility that someone will label this upcoming model an MPV, but that is what it essentially is.
Without any obvious room for a rear deck lid, the car sports a hatchback configuration and a similar profile to that of the X6, although the raised roofline suggests this model makes greater concessions to occupant room and luggage space. A peek inside the test mule is said to have gleaned a glimpse of an interior that features plenty of legroom, although the seating configuration suggests that the V Series will only cater for five occupants, with the fifth seat being more of an occasional perch. Although the roofline is still quite steeply raked at the rear, access to the load bay will be generous, thanks to a large glass hatch.
Even under the cladding it, looks as though this vehicle is evidence that BMW is shunning the boxy, utilitarian lines first proposed with the F3/V3 in favour of more sleek, car-like lines echoing those of the X5. In fact, the V Series is about the same length and width as the X5, but sits 20 mm lower than the SUV.
The V Series was initially thought to be pegged as a competitor for Mercedes’ R-Class luxury crossover wagon, but given the limited success of the model in Europe, BMW has chosen to give its newcomer a more dynamic character that fits in with the company’s badge ethos.
The cladding failed to disguise the fact that there is enough room for four exhaust tips at the rear. Powerplants have not yet been confirmed, but it is believed that the launch models will be available with 3,0-litre petrol and diesel straight-sixes and the company’s 4,8-litre V8.
The V Series is believed to utilise the same platform as the X6, so there is the possibility of an all-wheel drive variant, although given the decision to ditch the 4-matic version of the R-Class, BMW will have to carefully consider whether such a model will be called for.
Production of the V Series is believed to take place at BMW’s Spartanburg plant in the USA and a concept version of the car will be unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Show.
While diversity in the model range is never a bad thing for any carmaker, one has to question the value of attacking such niche segments with an array of vehicles that seem to be very similar in their appearance and technical make-up.