The car enthusiast community has been teased about the possibility of a BMW pickup truck in some form or another over the past umpteen years. We’ve heard everything from nothing, to flat-out denial, to maybe. BMW has asserted that a pickup truck is not something in their marketing space.
Regardless of BMW’s denial, I think they should build one, and I’ll tell you why. Historically, BMW makes some of the best sports sedans on the planet and their SUV models are unparalleled. They even produce some nifty sports cars. But a pickup? C’mon, are you serious?
Well (since you asked), yes, I am.
BMW has toyed with prototypes as far back as the 1980s—a single E30 M3 was created and apparently served the factory for a quarter century. More recently, a one-off X7 pickup concept (pictured herein), was built and never made it to production. But why not?
Amuse me for a moment. The most popular vehicle in the country is the Ford F-150—and for 40-plus years running for that matter. There are several reasons for this shocking revelation, but I’m going to focus on the one that trumps all the others. In a word, utility.
Every household should have a practical car. You can own all the garage trinkets you want, but everyone I know has one sensible car, first and foremost. It gets you and your family consistently to work, appointments and errands, and largely does all the heavy lifting.
Until recently, those tasks have been performed by some sort of SUV in our family, with a reasonable back seat, four doors, a carnivorous hatch, and all-wheel drive. They haven’t necessarily been beaters, but it’s never been the car that gets me excited to drive it either.
We’re between houses at the moment. We sold our previous home and are living in an apartment while we build our next (and hopefully last) residence. And all the while we have been tooling back and forth between the two in our pair of BMWs: a 330e and a M440i.
No more SUV—and I’m not complaining, but neither of the BMWs work well for carrying boxes, crates, and bins of household stuff. (Not that they were designed for that either.) The backseats have never seen passengers, but even when you fold them down flat (ish), there’s still limited space.
We are currently trekking materials from the Big Box stores, too. Sometimes several trips in succession to manage the quantity, weight, or dimensions of various products. It’s not very efficient to say the least, and care must always be taken not to harm the interior.
So, my analytical mind began solutioning these challenges. Renting a truck or van is only practical if you do everything at once (it’s otherwise cost prohibitive). And having things shipped to your house can be expensive and inconvenient when it comes to a delivery window.
A truck would not only solve these issues, but it would also be very helpful in general transport for the many projects we will have settling into our new home. An F-150 would be sufficient for that purpose, but for me, not as practical for everything else.
So why not a pickup truck from the company that all but defines the expression German engineering? Perhaps a more sophisticated version of the F-150, with a cabin somewhat reminiscent of the X5, and a lined cargo bed that can carry lumber and bags of potting soil.
It would not be expected to haul a yard of gravel—the focus would be to appease Joe Homeowner. With a reasonable payload area, it would not so much satisfy the contractor. This suggests a designed compromise leaning toward sensibility.
In true BMW form, I would expect their pickup truck to be comfortable, handle as well as their SUVs, and be fairly durable. The interior might be a tad more functional, and the exterior classically styled—simple, functional, even elegant. In other words, it would still feel like a BMW.
But the manufacturer from Munich insists that they don’t see truck customers in their showrooms, though I dispute this assertion. Like me, most of my car friends are actually quite intrigued with the idea, and many would consider one in their garage.
Just imagine tooling around in what feels like an SUV from the inside, but stores a considerable amount of cargo just behind your ears. The standard configuration would include a retractable cover for the lined bed, with tie hooks and all the other functional pickup-type gizmos.
A second row of seats is an interesting proposal (a la Honda Ridgeline), but that serves to increase the length or shorten the bed. For now, I’d stick with a basic configuration that would more likely appeal to a broader consumer base.
It could very easily be a daily driver as well as the weekend hauler, satisfying the two basic needs in many if not most households. And since it’s a BMW, it would not feel like I’m driving a toolbox. What a fantastic concept!
What are the chances of this fantasy becoming a reality? Even if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t put money on it. I love BMW, but they are too stodgy and do not often remove their jackets and ties. But what if they did—what if they took a chance and built a pickup truck?
I’d get in line right now. How about you? —David Newton
[Photos courtesy of BMW.]