BMW is considering vehicles that would have the interior room of a minivan but not seven seats.
CEO Helmut Panke says BMW "will never bring a minivan" to the market.
But the German luxury carmaker is looking at concepts for roomier vehicles that would not sacrifice BMW performance, he says.
One such vehicle could offer a "comfortable business-lounge environment," without the standard three rows of seats. Another vehicle under consideration is a sport wagon.
"It would have some coupe aspects together with something that is on an SUV or SAV [sport activity vehicle] platform," Panke says.
He would not say when BMW is likely to make a decision.
BMW is coining the term "space functional concept" for its new vehicles, which could come in more than one size.
Mercedes-Benz has taken a similar approach with its R-class sport wagon.
A short-wheelbase version of the R class will be sold in Europe, and the US will get a longer-wheelbase model.
More than just space
Panke says the major difference between the vehicles BMW is studying and sport wagons from rivals is that the competition "just offers space."
He says: "Any BMW brand solution will not just offer space. It has to be a driver's car. It has to be a dynamically handling car."
Burkhard Göschel, BMW board member responsible for research, development and purchasing, says BMW envisions a seating position for the vehicle at a height "somewhere between a passenger car and an SUV."
"The seating position characterizes the car much more than other things," Göschel says.
BMW is not focusing on the number of seats, he adds: "It is not a people mover."