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 |  Mar 23 2010, 10:19 AM

2009 bmw 128i convertible 40133

They don’t call BMW the “ultimate driving machine” for nothing. Or do they? According to a new statistic released by BMW, the company’s rear-drive performance philosophy might not be all that important to buyers. Or at least buyers of the entry-level 1 Series.

In a recent conference call, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said that 80 percent of 1 Series drivers think their car is front-wheel drive.

While this statistic certainly says something about 1 Series buyers, Reithofer was using it to show how BMW believes its customers will accept front-drive models. Currently BMW does not offer any front-drive models (although BMW’s MINI brand does), but BMW is planning to introduce a front drive vehicle to its lineup in the near future. This new platform would be shared with the next-generation MINI Cooper and would be used by BMW to compete with the recently released Audi A1 – itself a front-driver.

Traditionalists might scoff at the notion of a “wrong-wheel drive” BMW, but considering the incredible handling BMW has managed to deliver in its MINI models, we’re pretty sure the German automaker will keep its tag-line.

[Source: Automotive News via WCF]