Sportvans are the next big thing at BMW. In 2005, the Bavarian automaker confirmed it would build a sportvan/MPV/wagon based on the X5 (itself based on the 5 Series). The vehicle was developed under the working title RFK, but we believe it'll be called F5. Now comes word that BMW is planning a similar vehicle based off its 3 Series-called F3-though the company's board hasn't given it the green light, yet. BMW is expected to launch the F5 in mid-2009 and, if approved, the F3 the following year.

Both would be five-door, five-passenger vehicles with rear or all-wheel drive offered. They're designed to be sporty and yet capacious, with ride and handling to BMW sedan standards. They'll eschew larger wheels and tires that add unsprung weight as well as high centers of gravity that diminish ride and handling quality.

Engines in the F3 would likely match standard, non-M3 engines from the 3 Series; the 235-horsepower, 3.0-liter six and the 300-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0. A diesel option for the States, given BMW's plans to sell them here also is a good bet.