Development of BMW’s radical Progressive Activity Sedan (PAS), a luxuriously equipped large five-seat hatchback to go up against the Mercedes R-class in 2009, has moved into top gear. Prototypes are now being trialled in cold weather tests in northern Sweden, and our new spy pictures show the interior of the car for the first time.Based on the same platform as the next-generation 5-series, the 'PAS' is intended to fill a niche that exists in the BMW line-up between its traditional estates and its newer luxury off-roaders, or Sport Activity Vehicles as they are referred to in Munich. BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer describes this new car, hitherto referred to in various quarters as the V5 and the V7, as combining class-leading levels of space and an elevated seating position with all the dynamic traits and quality you expect from a BMW.
BMW 'PAS': it's half estate car, half MPV
Stylistically, the PAS is unlike any other BMW model. The tall, curving roofline sits above an eight-window glasshouse which provides it with an airy and light interior. The rear is characterised by a large sloping hatch, very much like the one on the new X6, that opens to reveal a boot offering almost 600-litres of luggage capacity.Behind the cladding worn by the prototypes is a steel and aluminium bodyshell that uses aggressive detailing, including a large kidney grille and brows over curvy xenon headlamps.Although the 'PAS' is only marginally longer than the 5-series, BMW’s designers have added width and height to increase accommodation. Owing to the heavy curvature of the roof, BMW will not equip the PAS with a third row of seats. Instead, it will come with the choice of four seats, with individual pews in the rear, or five seats with a three-across bench.The new car also receives its own interior with a high-mounted dashboard and seats that are set 60mm higher than in BMW’s existing 5-series, for a mroe commanding view of the road.