It was perhaps the single most controversial car in the entire, 100-year history of BMW. The first car in a century to wear the iconic propellor badge on - shock, horror - a front-wheel-drive chassis.
How could this possibly be? The last mainstream automaker to resolutely, stubbornly stick with rear-drive, the self-proclaimed maker of “the ultimate driving machine” switching to “wrong-wheel-drive”? And not even with a sporty little hatchback. But with a small minivan, of all things! (The chassis is from the same UKL family as the current Mini, but that’s a small consolation.)
There’s no arguing with success, though, and the BMW 2 Series Tourer, in five-seat Active and 7-seat Grand forms, has been a sales hit. Indeed, according to figures reported by Automotive News Europe, it is the third best-selling small minivan in Europe. Despite being the most expensive.
Data compiled by JATO Dynamics show BMW moved 77,664 2 Series Tourers in the year to the end of September, a 26 percent increase on the same period last year.
Only the Citroen C4 Picasso/Grand Picasso and Volkswagen Touran did better, moving 85,390 and 88,169 units respectively.
Both are considerably cheaper than the BMW, which has a whopping average list price of €35,688 ($38,850).
It is worth noting that, of the top five best sellers, only the Volkswagen was launched more recently than the BMW. The Citroen is nearing the end of its life, as are the Ford C-MAX and Mercedes B Class that trail the Beemer.
The Merc is the only other contender in the sector by a premium brand, and its 10 percent decline in sales could perhaps be ascribed to its Munich rival.
The Renault Scenic, which has just entered its fourth generation, is notable by its absence from the top five. Asian contenders like the Kia Carens and Toyota Verso lag behind, too.
So what does the success of the 2 Series Tourer tell us? That gearheads like us and the general car buying public have very different ideas about what a BMW can and should be. People are attracted to the badge but don't really care about what lies under the skin. It's a BMW minivan, and that's all that matters.
Source: Automotive News Europe