BMW’s brand-new Family Active Sports Tourer (FAST) is inching closer to production. A batch of new spy shots we just received in our inbox reveals the Germans have begun testing the MPV-like crossover outside city limits, as they’re looking to asses the vehicle’s behavior and fuel consumption on longer routes.

Sure, the FAST is still a long way off with the official launch to take place sometime in 2015, but these extensive testing sessions can only mean one thing: BMW wants this new niche vehicle it’s creating to make a major impact on today’s unforgiving market.

The prototype spotted stretching its legs somewhere in Germany is actually the same crossover we saw in early July 2014. The vehicle is still covered in swirly camouflage, with nearly no details left out in the open. In fact, very few things have changed so far, as BMW continues to focus on chassis and powertrain testing.

Click past the jump to read more about BMW FAST.

Spy Shots

Spy Shots: BMW FAST Caught Testing Again Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: BMW FAST Caught Testing Again Exterior Spyshots
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Spy Shots: BMW FAST Caught Testing Again Exterior Spyshots
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Developed on the same UKL platform that underpins the new Mini, and the upcoming BMW X1 and 2 Series Active Tourer, the FAST will slot right below the X1 compact crossover. That’s a new niche right there, one that blends everything a crossover and an MPV have to offer. The vehicle is longer and slightly wider than a crossover, which suggests the FAST will come with plenty of passenger and storage room.

Its design is still well under wraps, not to mention that neither the headlamps nor the taillights are in production form. Same goes for the kidney grille, which is just a prototype piece added to cover some of the cooling components under the hood. Most styling cues will come from the X1 and the 2 Series Active Tourer, but we expect some unique features and body panels as well. A massive kidney grille will be flanked by X1-like headlamps, while large taillights will extend from the rear bumpers to the tailgate.

Only one tiny detail changes since we last saw the FAST on the road. The wheels now carry a multi-spoke design, which contrasts the fancier, twin-five-spoke configuration used earlier this month.

Engine-wise, the FAST will benefit from both conventional units and a hybrid drivetrain. We figure the latter, which is depicted in the photos above, will combine the company’s 1.5-liter, three-cylinder gasoline mill and the same electric motor fitted in the 2 Series Active Tourer Plug-In Hybrid. The rest of the lineup will include a bevy of gasoline and diesel engines, most likely in 2.0-liter, four-cylinder guises.

Why It Matters

Development of the BMW Family Active Sports Tourer is moving along slowly but surely. A new niche is being created as we speak and, thanks to our skilled paparazzi, we’re witnessing every little change this prototype is receiving. Although the FAST might not seem that important when compared to the SUVs currently under development, it might just start a whole new automotive war in Germany, as manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz are likely to respond with a vehicles of their own.

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