I guess the absence to date of any actual spy photos or auto show concept cars has been enough to keep me in the dark about BMW's plans for the RFK [Room Function Concept, which is BMWspeak for minivan. Because of course, as BMW chief Helmut Panke says, "We build no Vans.’Äù Ja ja, just hand over the keys, Helmut.]
The RFK is slated for 2008, and will be based on the 5-series, fitting in somewhere between the 5-series wagon and the X5. [The RFK project also looked at a 3-series-based
van, but decided against it.] There's a V-6 255hp 3.0L inline 6 a 375hp 4.3L V-8 in the works, says Autoblog, "and since MB has already revealed a 503-bhp AMG R-Class, there’Äôs no reason not to expect an M RFK at some point." [Good luck getting M-RFK on your vanity plate.]
It's funny how both Autoblog and Road & Track treat the RFK as BMW's answer to the success Mercedes is having with the R-Class. Guess BMW didn't want Mercedes to have all the demographic mismarketing and priceslashing fun for themselves. From the look and sound of it, the RFK is a lot closer to the mark; it's shorter than the R-class, but it doesn't have three rows of seats. [If they really plan to sell 50-70k/year, though, they should be looking at what MB did wrong, not just harrumphing about vans.]
With RFK, V5, Super Touring, and LSC, I can't pin down the garbled Google translation of Autobild's original article. But I do know that the 29-image photo gallery of artist renderings of BMW & Audi non-minivans, non-wagons looks like the product of the fertile mind of a car junkie/Photoshop monkey who just found out he's having a kid.
BMW RFK to take on MB R-Class [autoblog]
Autobild preview BMW LSC [autobild.de]
Previously: the Mercedes R-Class saga from Mick to Hootie
BMW's come up less frequently, but when they do, they're usually amusing.