ONLY FORS, NO AGAINSTS.
BMW Concept Active Tourer in “ramp” magazine.
Limited to a straight six-cylinder engine, front wheel drive announced,sub-brand
launched, a van? BMW is adapting and reinventing itself. What remains of what
distinguishes the brand and its models? Of "the joy of driving"? Answer: Everything.
(Photos: Kerstin Weiss. Text: Patrick Morda)
A niche or market niche is a section of the overall market for which the requirements
profile has either not yet been or is insufficiently fulfilled. Such a niche can result when
demand develops abruptly or the products on offer are changed proactively. In short:
a niche is an opportunity. What do car manufacturers do with freed up space?
They put cars in it. They (no longer) wait until the market, i.e. us, demands something
explicitly. They anticipate the demand. They think in terms of developments. And BMW?
BMW occupies niches. It's that simple.
BMW say it themselves: Much is changing – but not the joy of driving. Because nowadays
this has become somewhat decoupled from simple force and energy. Driving is fun when
you feel comfortable. In the car and with the car. When your choice is confirmed by perfection,
quality and innovation. When you find solutions for problems which you had never even thought
about. When elegant comfort results from clever functionality, without losing everyday practicality.
They say you should drive with foresight. It is only logical to build cars in the same way.
Cars which are to round off BMW's model series at the lower end of the product range. There is
still some room between the 1 Series and the 3 Series. BMW wants to use this to build new
relationships, without being overly ingratiating. They want to approach new customers,
customers who – like the brand itself – are on the threshold of something new. Their environment
is changing, or better put, developing. That sounds more positive. More euphoric. Requirements
and focus shift, but certain standards remain. Cars like the Active Tourer open up new markets.
Are inviting. But polarising too. And that's a good thing.
Perfect, if a car proves to be flexible. Adaptable. Is simply a holistic solution. Right from the start.
A Multi-Utility Vehicle quickly becomes a MPCV – a Multi-Purpose & Characteristics Vehicle.
Or an MFLV – a Multi-Functional Lifestyle Vehicle. These are of course not official or corporate-
compliant acronyms. But this doesn't make them less appropriate. By the way, “van” is conceivably
the worst designation. It sounds outdated. Backwards looking. Coming from a time when BMW still
categorically identified itself with rear wheel drive. That was then. Today just the opposite is the case.
The Active Tourer is also not a family car. That sounds slow and boring. Short overhangs, big wheels
and a hugely dynamic design tell a different story. But futuristic would be a step too far. With a
possible hybrid drive, the concept is future proof. Right here, right now.
And please don't misunderstand – here “decoupled”, as described earlier, does not mean “completely
discarded”. It means, as already mentioned, that the focus shifts and priorities change. Driving cars
was never – or rather, should never – be the simple physical transition from A to B. No one “just” travels
from A to B. At the end of the day, the joy of driving is of course also that which our brain stem pushes
into our consciousness: Fun – in movement. The dynamics. Of being. Of doing. On the car. In the car.
Of joy. That's the way it should be.
Want to find out more about “ramp” magazine?