Monday 25 May 2020

E34 5 Series 'Countryman' Touring X-Over Lifestyle utility concept... with pop-out tent...what?!

Well, I really have now seen it all. This is something I never expected to see from BMW, given their sporty, driver-focused image, but here it is... The E34 5 Series Touring utility camping wagon! Not only is it lifted with bigger tyres and sports obligatory 4x4 style two-tone paint, but it even sports a 'pop-out' camper roof and folding tent! This idea was only ever adopted in one vehicle I know of and that was the truly ill-received Pontiac Aztec some 10 years later, with the tent thing actually being one of its saving graces! You heard it from Bavaria first.

The concept is of the early 1990's, which means it also pre-dates Audi's 'Allroad' Quattro and Volvo's V70 XC / Cross Country, both of which were released and saw quite a bit of niche popularity, not to mention Subaru's ever popular Forester that seem to still be seen all over. The Audi and Subaru of course had 4-wheel drive as standard and the Volvo has it as an option, whereas the BMW would have still only been rear-wheel drive.. Can't imagine this would have been too good on a muddy camp-site field! It certainly wouldn't appeal stylistically to the same sort of younger BMW driver's who drift round ploughing up fields for fun anyway and perhaps doesn't quite fit with the BMW ethos overall, so I can see why it was overlooked and never made it into production. X-Drive all-wheel drive only became a feature in this millennium, which would have suited this thing to a tee and may have even brought it into production, but with such a limited market maybe the world has moved on.

Personally, I love it! Maybe I will recreate one from my E46 Touring! I challenge someone to beat me to it!

This reminds me, I really must get on a 'camping' trip in the 318i wagon when the epidemic is over and camp in the car, which I've been planning to do for a while now. I thought I was the only one eccentric enough to have such an idea... but no, some design team at BMW had the same notion, only over 35 years ago!

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