BMW: In the driving seat - Christel Reynaerts
Commuting into the city by road can be time consuming, with hours spent locked in traffic or trying to find ample-sized parking spaces. With the launch of the 2 Series Active Tourer, BMW hopes to put pleasure back into driving. Christel Reynaerts, head of international corporate sales, discusses how the features of the latest model are making journeys more efficient and fun.
Who is your target market for the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer?
Christel Reynaerts: A lot of the focus has been on corporate customers; it's a broad group that includes everyone from professionals with young families to people who have to make long commutes and want to do so in comfort. Many of these will also be outdoor enthusiasts, so we wanted to create something that would be relevant to work and personal life. It's a very broad demographic. We are targeting those who have a desire for a spacious car with sporty looks and all the driving dynamics BMW stands for.
There are many aspects of this vehicle that are new to BMW - what's the thinking behind the design?
Well, we spoke to a lot of our customers and found that, because of their lifestyles, they were in need of a vehicle that offered more functionality, space and, of course, aesthetics. So we decided to create a car that is roomy and stylish, but maintains the functionalities that you would need for work and personal life.
Can you describe some of the vehicle's features?
First and foremost it drives like a BMW. It was really important that, as we are entering a new segment, we maintained the same driving pleasure that any car in our portfolio offers. With that in mind, we've built a very dynamic car.
In terms of the features, it is the perfect car not only for driving in the city, where there may be a lack of parking space, but also in more rural areas, for those who enjoy hobbies like hiking or cycling. It offers higher seating than you would have in a saloon and, in terms of loading and unloading, it's the first car in its segment that provides an automatically opened tailgate. It's all geared towards convenience; for example, in the boot, the rear seats offer a strong degree of versatility as they can be folded down and offer a split of 40/20/40 - as we like to say in the industry - meaning you can transport passengers as well as surf boards and bikes at the same time.
Efficiency is still an important consideration for customers and the industry as a whole - what does the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer offer here?
We believe it sets standards when it comes to efficiency and driving, thanks to the fact that we are introducing a new range of engine that is lightweight and fuel efficient. We made a conscious decision to implement three and four-cylinder engines in this range and, just like all our other BMWs, it has the efficient dynamics programme.
If you go deeper, you'll see that our Connected Drive feature offers substantial benefits in terms of convenience and efficiency, especially for corporate customers. Thanks to the navigation system, which is equipped for real-time traffic information, an employee can make their journeys as timely and productive as possible. And in terms of comfort, the concierge service operates as an in-car personal assistant that can help you in a whole manner of ways; for example, it can help you locate a particular restaurant or cinema in the local area.
Last but not least, there is the traffic-jam assistance feature, which ensures the distance of the car is kept in a safe range from others at up to 60km an hour; all you need to do is keep one finger on the steering wheel while the vehicles breaks and steers by itself.
How would you sum up the new BMW series?
We absolutely love it. In many ways it's a typical BMW: dynamics, style and elegance combined with the spacious versatility and functionality demanded in the premium compact segment. We truly believe it's a groundbreaking piece of motor engineering.