Over the years, BMW fans have created several custom pickup trucks using BMW cars as their basis. With the automaker seemingly dead set on competing in every possible segment of the automotive marketplace these days, it’s almost surprising that they haven’t built a pickup truck of their own yet.
Overseas, both Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen offer small pickup trucks, and a few decades back, the latter also sold them here, a segment that a few other American car-based trucks also occupied. Today, it seems like only a matter of time before it might happen with BMW. Given America’s love affair with pickup trucks, it seems only natural that they’d offer a luxury option for buyers who value comfort as much as they do utility. Detroit’s Big Three already offer high-dollar, full-size pickups with numerous luxuries and prices approaching or even surpassing $70,000, so don’t tell me there isn’t a market for such a thing.
It’d make sense for them to do what BMW does best: follow the beat of their own drum, and build something uniquely BMW that competes with its American and German competition while offering qualities you don’t quite get elsewhere. Aiming it squarely at the American market could work out great, and they could even build their new pickup at BMW Plant Spartanburg, in South Carolina.
So what would BMW offer to be different? A ute. Popular in Australia to this day, utes are similar to the Chevrolet El Camino and Ford Ranchero, vehicles which were once popular in the United States. They could sell a 5 Series-based small pickup with long, coupe-style doors, a small pickup bed, and offer it with enough power (courtesy of either their turbocharged inline-six or V8 engines) to haul anything from mulch to motorcycles (preferably BMW).
It seems like a silly idea, but Pontiac—GM’s entry-level performance and luxury brand of yore—had plans to import the Australian Holden Maloo ute to our shores as the G8 ST before the Great Recession of 2008 killed not only their plans, but the brand as a whole. With a healthier economy and gas prices as low as ever, it may be time for BMW to step up to the plate and give fans the Ultimate Support Vehicle to bolster our fleet of aging Ultimate Driving Machines.
It’s not like they haven’t already considered the idea either, as all of the photos for this article are actually official press images of one-off projects built by BMW. The E30-based design was unveiled in 1986 as an M3 pickup, while the E92-derived version was first shown in 2011.—Cam VanDerHorst
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]