Previously referred to as the BMW V3, this 5-seater compact MPV will wear an F3 badge when it goes into production by 2010. AutoWeek reported a BMW insider giving the following statement: “We’ve looked carefully at prevailing market trends, and there appears to be a clear shift away from old-style multi-purpose vehicles. By combining the high seating position of a sport/utility vehicle with the space afforded by a traditional station wagon, crossovers appear to be providing a clear alternative to buyers.”
Not surprisingly, the all-wheel drive F3 will share driveline components (xDrive) with the all-new X3, which is due sometime 2009. The F3 is not the first crossover MPV from BMW due for rollout. The Munich automaker had already confirmed in 2005 that it will be building a sports-MPV based on the X5 under the working title RFK (Raumfunktionales Konzept) meaning Space-Functional Concept.
The production model of this Mercedes-Benz R-Class competitor will be dubbed F5 (early rendering as the V5 above) and is scheduled to debut sometime mid-2009. Mercedes-Benz has experienced lacklustre sales of its R-Class sports-tourer MPV practically the world over. Whether BMW can work wonders with this upcoming F5 remains a big question mark, even though the crossover market is a growing segment both in Europe as well as the United States.
After noting the success of the X3 and X5, BMW is looking to capture a wider audience from this burgeoning market with the upcoming F3, which will be marketed as a small crossover MPV promising a sporty drive and flexible utility in one compact package. It will be targeted at motoring enthusiasts who don’t find the X3 interesting or exciting enough, but want something that rides taller and roomier, and possibly more fashionable than the E90 3-series.