Thursday 7 August 2008

Progressive Activity Sedan spied in the desert

Spy photographers have caught BMW's 5-Series based crossover. The mule, unfortunately hasn't ditched any body-panels so the disguise is just as thick as previous mules sighted. The PAS will be a hatch rather than a full-blown wagon like the slow-selling R-Class. The newcomer will also focus on interior space and style and not as much on practicality.

The fastback PAS will seat four adults in comfort, boast plenty of luggage space, and feature a clever twin-hinged tailgate which will allow either the whole rear hatch to be opened or just the lower boot lip – the same system found on the latest Skoda Superb.

Yet despite high levels of practicality, thanks in part to a higher roofline than the 5-Series, BMW is determined to make the PAS an enjoyable driving machine. Plenty of time in the wind tunnel has honed a shape with a drag coefficient of only 0.31, the same as the current M3 coupe and engineers are working hard to ensure that dynamically the PAS disguises its bulky 1900kg kerb weight. This weight issue, and BMW’s desire to position the PAS somewhere between the 5 and 7-Series in its model hierarchy, means only the bigger engines in the Bavarian stable will power the crossover. A pair of 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engines with 245bhp or 300bhp will be available – the latter generating a monumental 600Nm of torque and petrol power will come from a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo and a 4.0-litre turbo V8, generating 306bhp and 408bhp respectively.

All cars will be rear-wheel drive. The crossover is set to debut in September 2009 at IAA in Frankfurt.

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