BMW is out creating new niches yet again, with its latest prototype signaling a premium seven-seat compact MPV is on the horizon. The vehicle is essentially a seven-seat version of the recently revealed 2-Series Active Tourer
, which features five seats and is the first BMW model to ride on the new UKL front-wheel-drive platform that debuted in the 2014 MINI Cooper
This seven-seat version, distinguished by its stretched rear doors and extra-long rear overhang, should arrive towards the end of 2014 or early next year. Some of the shots show it next to its five-seat sibling, revealing the differences between the two, at least, externally. The expected name for the vehicle is 2-Series Gran Tourer.
Given the car's premium positioning, compact size and seven-seat configuration, the vehicle will have no direct rival, though the more affordable Fiat 500L, which comes in a seven-seat version overseas, may prove an alternative. Other potential rivals include the slightly larger Mazda 5, Opel Zafira and Volkswagen Sharan, though all of these are targeted at families on a budget. As you may have guessed by the list of rivals, this seven-seat BMW 2-Series Gran Tourer is unlikely to be offered in the U.S., though its smaller sibling is expected here in 2015
The vehicle’s engine lineup should mirror that of the smaller 2-Series Active Tourer, meaning a series of three- and four-cylinder units, all of them turbocharged. The top model will be a 225i and at the other end of the spectrum will be a diesel-powered 218d. The 225i is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivering 231 horsepower. Further down the track, a hybrid version of the five-seat Active Tourer
is due. It’s unlikely the hybrid will come with the seven-seat configuration of the Gran Tourer.
Stay tuned for updates as development continues.
_______________________________________Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.