BMW has revealed an all-new mobile creche on wheels, dubbing it the 2 Series Gran Tourer and aiming to snare a new class of buyers with multiple kids and short-ish pockets.
Boasting what BMW says is "generous space, versatility and groundbreaking flexibility", the front-wheel-drive, seven-seat minibus, which will also get all-wheel-drive capability in some markets, will stretch just 4556mm – or about as long as a Volkswagen Golf wagon.
Like the closely related 2 Series Active Tourer, the Gran Tourer will have five three- or four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines to choose from.
Reflecting its sprog-friendly form, German versions of the Gran Tourer will launch with a ‘myKIDIO’ app that feeds age-appropriate feature films, TV series, audio books and audio plays to tablet devices in the rear seats.
Parents will be able to snoop on what their children are watching; in return, ankle-biters will never again have to ask "are we there yet?", with the Gran Tourer streaming information such as arrival time, outside temperature and even the minibus's speed to the back seats, via connected tablets.
The standard model available in Europe will feature dual-zone air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, cruise control with an automated braking function, and a multifunction steering wheel.
At the top of the range is an M Sport model, showing that just because you have a bunch kids doesn't mean you have to drive the equivalent of a white good. It includes an aero package, sports seats and steering wheel, and other "features".
The 2 Series Gran Tourer is the second model in BMW's portfolio to feature front-wheel drive, a drivetrain arrangement it once derided as railing against its "sheer driving pleasure" mantra.
At this stage, BMW Australia says the 2 Series Gran Tourer is not on its radar.
However, with the cheapest BMW X5 seven-seater priced above $80K, and the 2 Series Active Tourer priced from about $45K, there's a lot of potential for the creche. Ah, we mean showroom.