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Old 08-15-2012, 09:17 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Heresy: A front-wheel drive BMW Minivan

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The Anti-Christ
In 2008, my wife and I made and absolutely unsavory decision to trade her Volvo XC70 Ocean Race Edition for a Toyota Sienna XLE minivan. It was the most painful, automotive decision we had ever made. Not only would this vehicle be a Toyota but a Toyota MINIVAN! But for a family vehicle, it just made too much sense. Soon after I fondly named it, “The Anti-Christ”. Now in 2012, there’s a new Toyota Sienna Limited, “The second coming of the Anti-Christ”, sharing the space in the garage with my X5. Decked out with more electronic and entertainment amenities than our family room and sharing many luxurious toys from the Lexus parts bins, it’s made life with Anti-Christ v2012 more palatable.



A BMW Minivan
As an BMW enthusiast family and if a BMW Sports Tourer were offered, we certainly would have bit the bullet, paid a bit more and slightly given up a little size and some amenities to be hauling our family around in a people mover with a Roundel vs rounded “T” in the hood and hatch.


In a recent post titled “Weeks away from BMW’s first front-wheel drive vehicle” the BMW Compact Sport Tourer is rumored to be the first of a series of, dare we say it, front-wheel drive BMWs. Adding insult to this heresy, the Compact Sports Tourer appears to be BMW’s first foray the into sports tourer segment. If I had to bet on it, I might even set a wager that the Compact Sports Tourer is headed to the US even if it would be at least a few years out). With the recent word that BMW is looking at building a plant in Mexico for when the compact range is set to shift to front-wheel drive, I think this is a clear possibility.


The Compact Sports Tourer will take a more compact MPV form like the Mazda5, verses the not-so-mini minivans of late, but I feel this could have quite a bit of appeal to for small families desiring an Ultimate Sports Touring Experience if marketed and priced correctly. Ford was the one carmaker who’s definitely on the right tack with such a vehicle. The Ford C-Max is the right design for a sports tourer for families and should be the functional model that BMW should emulate.





2012 Ford C-Max
“R” Lessons Learned – Take note BMW
A few lessons can be learned regarding sports tourers from the unfortunate (or fortunate) demise of the Mercedes R-Class “Grand Sports Tourer” for the US market after 2013 model year. Some would say that the demise of the R-Class for the US shows that sports tourers, even a Grand Sports Tourer in the case of the R, in this segment don’t sell very well in this market, especially against Siennas, Odysseys, and Town & Countrys.


However, I contend that the R-Class was a very well executed sports tourer and should have been a success. In fact we considered one when we were shopping for our minivan. It’s size, gas and diesel power plants, all-wheel drive offering, safety, and the fact that it was a Mercedes-Benz all should have made this vehicle a good, if not very good, seller in the luxury segment in the US. There was only one thing that brought down the vehicle that killed its practically as a family vehicle, the lack of sliding rear doors.





The R-Class has absolutely massive rear doors about the shape and size of Montana that open outward as most car doors do. I’m sure their functionality and size were carefully thought out by schwabian Mercedes-Benz engineers to provide easy access for passengers to the 2nd and 3rd row seats, but the design is the Achilles heel of this vehicle.


Massive doors are difficult for children to open, they’re heavy and can be dangerous to little ones who’s heads don’t even reach as high as the bottom of the window. They cannot be easily opened while parked in a garage or a tight parking space with out causing damage to the door or whatever is parked next to it. Most importantly, they cannot be motorized to open and close at a touch of a button, which is a huge benefit when making a mad dash to the vehicle from a soccer field in a raging downpour. Yes, it was the doors that doomed the Mercedes-Benz R-Class for American families.


Interestingly enough, it will still be marketed in China and elsewhere, where it is primarily used as an executive luxury transport and in most cases has chauffeur to manage doors for the easy ingress and egress of those in the rear seats.


Mercedes-Benz made a bold move into the realm of sports tourers when they designed their Vision GST Concept in 2001. BMW needs to look closely at this vision and strive to capitalize on the shortcomings in its design.
BMW would have to look no further than Mini’s reverse dual hinged door from the Mini Rocketman Concept or the “suicide” doors of the i3 concept for uncommon but innovative solutions.






So BMW, do your homework, look at internal designs, talk to families, give the test vehicles to your engineers with young families, but learn from others missteps and for God’s sake, get the doors right!
http://www.bmwblog.com/2012/08/14/he...e-bmw-minivan/
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:30 AM   #2
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Perhaps the R class died because it cost as much money as cruise ship. And growing families simply do not have much money for needless expenses when a larger cheaper toyota will do. Plus, children have a way of 'aging' vehicles quickly, so again, why buy something as $$$$$ as the R class
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:46 AM   #3
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The R class is a basically a factory limo. That thing was poorly designed for family with kids. Not to mention it only had a 6-passenger configuration. Awesome road trip car nonetheless, real nice interior, cool glass roof, but starting at $55k hurts.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:58 AM   #4
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What is this pretentious "sports tourer" crap? Call a spade a spade. Sliding doors, low floor, good third row access should define the breed... of minivans.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:05 AM   #5
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What are they doing in Munich???? It's like they want to be an upscale Volkswagen.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:39 PM   #6
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I'm glad. Give the soccer-moms a more sensible choice for the same price of a living-room-on-wheels for the 2.3 kids.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:31 AM   #7
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lol BMW has become a joke.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:16 AM   #8
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I’ve never understood why luxury brands don’t offer a mini-van. I don’t really get the stigma either. Unless you routinely tow something heavy a mini-van is the way to go if you have small kids. The have been a number of occasions that two families of four have vacationed together and we can all go out to eat, go to the waterpark, etc in one car.

The R class didn’t work because you got less and paid more; less seating, less amenities, less space.

What my wife really wants in a new VW bus, a modern, full of amenities just like this concept that they never made:



So instead we get a rebadged Dodge Caravan.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:28 PM   #9
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My sister needs a minivan. It is really the only thing that makes sense for her lifestyle. However, what she wants is a car with a fancy badge on it, and so she bought an Escalade.

I don't know if the minivan stigma would be too great for a luxury badge to overcome, but there are certainly a lot of vain soccer moms out there to market to.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:41 PM   #10
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^ My sis did the same.

Wish we got a real Prius minivan instead of that V. I'd take that VW bus in a heartbeat if they offered it with diesel, or at all.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:51 PM   #11
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I'd be seriously tempted by that concept VW bus, especially if they gave it the Westfalia treatment. Every time I see VW's rebadged Caravan, I have to laugh. Why would they pick the minivan with the worst reliability to rebadge? I would have opted for the Nissan Quest - not that well known, not too popular, but a decent competitor to the Sienna and Odyssey, and decent reliability.
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:55 PM   #12
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I'd much rather have a Sienna AWD than the SUV we currently use for our family. At the time we bought the SUV my wife absolutely refused to consider a mini van. She is coming around.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:53 PM   #13
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I'm lucky in that my wife would rather not have a "prestige brand" anything, and she's totally game for a minivan if/when we get to the three kid point. Two is fully doable in a large two-row vehicle, IMO.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
I'm lucky in that my wife would rather not have a "prestige brand" anything, and she's totally game for a minivan if/when we get to the three kid point. Two is fully doable in a large two-row vehicle, IMO.
We seriously thought of upgrading my wife's honda fit when our second boy was on the way. After really thinking about it, We did something a bit different, we upgraded our car seats instead. We currently have two Sunshine kid's car seats (now Dino). These car seats are amazing. I can sit comfortably in the back seat of our fit with both kids buckled down. (36 waist). Mind you the rear facing is in the middle and the oldest is behind the drivers side. I will still have room to sit in the back when the chair flips to front facing, but by then our third should be on the way and we will have to sit in the front... They are good up to 65lbs and we will use them for booster seats for our kids. They even have side impact protection

I will never ever get one of those kid carrier type car seats. My boys are to big, and besides i don't mind wearing them. its easier on my wrist and back. I sometimes feel lie a marsupial, but my back and wrist thanks me for it constantly. Heck, our stroller is a double wide and it folds flatter than a small golf club bag.

BlitZ

I'm currently dreaming of my wife upgrading a bit to a C-Max. It will be perfect for our fledgling family.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sub!eDr!ver
I'd be seriously tempted by that concept VW bus, especially if they gave it the Westfalia treatment. Every time I see VW's rebadged Caravan, I have to laugh. Why would they pick the minivan with the worst reliability to rebadge? I would have opted for the Nissan Quest - not that well known, not too popular, but a decent competitor to the Sienna and Odyssey, and decent reliability.
Do not ever buy a Quest. They are rare because they are pieces of fiberglass screwed together with bubblegum. No one buys them. Mine has given me issues in almost every area a vehicle can.

Members of my family have bought 2 Siennas within 6 Weeks of each other, both xle's and one and. Very nice but $40+K is a lot of coin for kids to scratch up and vomit on.
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKscooby
Do not ever buy a Quest. They are rare because they are pieces of fiberglass screwed together with bubblegum. No one buys them. Mine has given me issues in almost every area a vehicle can.
Is your Quest as old and beat as your 4Runner, though? Assuming it is one can't infer too much from your experience.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:34 AM   #17
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The Ultimate Driving Ma....... oh wait....
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by UKscooby View Post
Do not ever buy a Quest. They are rare because they are pieces of fiberglass screwed together with bubblegum. No one buys them. Mine has given me issues in almost every area a vehicle can.

Members of my family have bought 2 Siennas within 6 Weeks of each other, both xle's and one and. Very nice but $40+K is a lot of coin for kids to scratch up and vomit on.
What year is your Quest? It was redesigned for 2011, and the new one looks great. If they're really that bad, I'll stay well away.

One feature that I especially liked is that the seats, both middle and rear, fold forward to give a flat load floor (and still leave the rear "trunk" cubby available for stuff).

That was one thing I didn't like about other minivans - either some seats don't fold, or, like the Caravan/Town & Country, they all fold, but you're left with the seat mounting points sticking up. Not a truly flat load floor.

That's the thing I enjoyed about my Tribeca - seats fold flat with a mostly level platform for sleeping/car camping. The Quest uses a similar idea, giving a flat (though slightly sloped) floor.

I just wish it was someone other than Nissan that incorporated it into a minivan.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:49 AM   #19
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The flip side of the Quest's flat floor is that said flat floor is at least a foot higher than the slightly bumpy floor of the fold-into-the-floor competitors. Check out the total cargo volume stats, for instance: the Quest gets pummeled.

That said, I like the Quest myself having test driven both it and the modern Chrysler Town and Country. Its interior is very nice, the powertrain smooth, and it's different from the herd.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:27 AM   #20
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I will never ever get one of those kid carrier type car seats. My boys are to big, and besides i don't mind wearing them. its easier on my wrist and back. I sometimes feel lie a marsupial, but my back and wrist thanks me for it constantly. Heck, our stroller is a double wide and it folds flatter than a small golf club bag.
We have a carrier because someone gave it to us.. we use it for multi-stop trips around town where getting the baby buckled and unbuckled at every stop would significantly increase the amount of time we spend running errands.

The rest of the time she's strapped into a convertible seat that's far safer, cushier, takes up much less room and will last until she's 70lbs. It actually fits in the back of our MCS (oh, look.. a FWD BMW!) with enough room for me (6'2") to sit in front of it for short trips without complaining. My wife (5'4") has legroom to spare.





It's a Maxi-Cosi Pria 70.. and yes, she actually gets buckled in when we aren't just doing a test fit. There's about a 1" gap between the Pria 70 and the front seat in those pics.



Our other car is a Mazda5.. plenty of room for a couple with a baby, baby accouterment and a 60lb dog. I wouldn't give this BMW a second glance if it doesn't have sliding doors.. I don't understand the hatred for them by automakers.. but they're the main reason to own a van, IMO. I'm looking at you, R-class. Who wants the looks of a van without the utility?

I'm still waiting for Subaru to wake up and build a proper minivan. Other than a BRZ, there's nothing I'd buy from them right now.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:52 AM   #21
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For reference, I don't believe the C-Max here in the states gets sliding rear doors, even as a option. Don't know what FORD is thinking there.

Peace,

Greg
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:01 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by b4wantab
For reference, I don't believe the C-Max here in the states gets sliding rear doors, even as a option. Don't know what FORD is thinking there.
I think that the Grand C-Max in Europe is a proper minivan replete with sliding doors. The non-Grand, non-sliding door model is distinct, and is the one that Ford chose to import.
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Old 08-17-2012, 11:26 AM   #23
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The flip side of the Quest's flat floor is that said flat floor is at least a foot higher than the slightly bumpy floor of the fold-into-the-floor competitors. Check out the total cargo volume stats, for instance: the Quest gets pummeled.

That said, I like the Quest myself having test driven both it and the modern Chrysler Town and Country. Its interior is very nice, the powertrain smooth, and it's different from the herd.
Yes, I was aware of the shorter vertical space, and it doesn't bother me a bit. I'm not looking for raw volume, but utility. I like the way the seats fold (since I'm already used to it in my Tribeca). Subaru should build one like it, and I would definitely buy one. Time to write my Subaru rep again.
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Old 08-17-2012, 06:00 PM   #24
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We have a 2011 Quest. It's been great for us. We looked at the sienna and odyssey but they were just too expensive. At the time, Toyota and Honda wanted 34k and we got the quest for under 28. The only thing the Nissan doesn't have is the moonroof, but I'm not about to drop 6k for that. And the interior is better than the Toyota.
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:44 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by

[IMG
http://i.imgur.com/vfunb.jpg[/IMG]



It's a Maxi-Cosi Pria 70.. and yes, she actually gets buckled in when we aren't just doing a test fit. There's about a 1" gap between the Pria 70 and the front seat in those pics.



Our other car is a Mazda5.. plenty of room for a couple with a baby, baby accouterment and a 60lb dog. I wouldn't give this BMW a second glance if it doesn't have sliding doors.. I don't understand the hatred for them by automakers.. but they're the main reason to own a van, IMO. I'm looking at you, R-class. Who wants the looks of a van without the utility?

I'm still waiting for Subaru to wake up and build a proper minivan. Other than a BRZ, there's nothing I'd buy from them right now.
I'm agreeing with you 100%. The BRZ is the only thing that interests me from Subaru. I really am envious of your Mazda5. I just don't like the redesigned5. The Nagra twists turn me off,but Mazda's new design... Now that makes me hopeful. I also want to look at the C-Max. No sliders but if the doors open in a fashion I can use. I am game. I just don't like big Vans. I prefer Mini Vans, or fast wagons. Hmm maybe I convice the wife to get a CTSV wagon. *dreams*

BlitZ
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