BMW axes B-class rival

Published: 07 August 2006

BMW has put on ice plans for a mini-MPV based on the 3-series, to rival the Mercedes B-class. Instead, it will focus on a bigger, Mercedes R-class challenger, due in 2009.

'Originally, we looked at two different space-functional concepts: one was based on the 3-series, the other one on the 5-series,' said a source. 'The bigger car worked out well, but the smaller one didn't - it was too cramped and ill-proportioned.'

The proposed BMW – codenamed V3 – was due to use 3-series running gear and six-cylinder engines (see CAR magazine, February 2005). But it will be the V5 which leads BMW's push into the people carrier market. This car is about the length of a 5-series Touring but much taller, although a sporty silhouette disguises its height. Expect power from six- and eight-pot engines, sending power to all four wheels.

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel