AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Buick is the latest brand to leave a breadcrumb trail for its future products by filing for a tradermark on May 3 to cover its Riviera moniker. While that doesn’t prove anything on its own, the company isn’t known for flippantly filing for trademarks on the off chance they might one day come true.
Say it ain’t so, Bavaria! The Motoren Werke is finally abandoning their RWD-only stance, and will introduce a FWD compact BMW by 2015.
BMW has famously prided itself on its rearward motivation, but in an effort to give consumers “greater choice,” they are experimenting with all sorts of vehicles and propulsion systems: electric cars, hybrids, diesels, and 12-cylinder engines. And in the shuffle comes this revelation from BMW North America’s CEO Jim O’Donnell: a volume car at the bottom end will be FWD, and still proudly wear the propeller badge.
A contradiction? To enthusiasts, perhaps. But this is an effort for BMW to raise their corporate miles per gallon, and to provide consumers with that all-important choice: it would allow BMW to compete with the Mercedes A-Class, in the premium compact car segment that’s booming in Europe but still seems bizarre to American markets (as BMW 318ti drivers can attest). And if this choice contradicts the existence of the Mini Cooper, then so be it.
The thought of a front-drive BMW was inconceivable less than 5 years ago, but the Bavarian luxury car maker appears to be planning an onslaught of front-drive models for launch by 2016, including a couple crossovers, a sports car and a new compact.
The first front-driver will be a 1 Series GT, another pointless crossover, but one that BMW evidently feels earns a spot in its lineup. The silver lining is that it will share a platform with the wonderful MINI Clubman, giving it excellent dynamics even if its technically a “downmarket” car. More intriguing is the BMW Z1, a compact roadster that would mimic the Lotus Elan of the early 1990′s by sending power to the front via a turbocharged 4-cylinder.
A compact, as well as the next generation 1-Series will likely follow suit, since 1-Series drivers apparently don’t know or care about which wheels are being driven. Naturally, a whole new range of MINIs will follow, including an all-new variant said to be the size of the original Mini Cooper.
[Source: Inside Line]
Front wheel drive cars and big power are usually a winning formula to make a car handle like your worst nightmare. If well engineered cars from the factory, like the Mazdaspeed3, have unpleasant torque steer from a 263 horsepower four-cylinder engine, how will a diminutive FIAT 500 deal with similar levels of power?
To be honest, we’re not sure, but we figured we would entice you with this awkwardly-named special edition, the Pogea Racing FIAT 500 Ferrari Dealers Edition, ostensibly a car for people who sell Ferraris but can’t afford them.
The stock FIAT 500 Abarth makes 160 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque, but with a new turbocharger, exhaust system, downpipe and catalytic converter, the upgraded car makes 264 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque. Pogea Racing claims to have added better brakes to cope with the torque, but that does little to reassure that it’s not an ill-tempered S.O.B when being driven. On the other hand, how cool does it look? If you said “very cool”, you are correct.
Get more Fiat 500 news and info at Fiat500Owners.com
The upcoming lineup of front-drive “small premium” BMWs will will share the 1 Series badge with their RWD counterparts. According to a report by AutoCar, the new models, which will share the same underpinnings as the next-generation MINI Cooper, will also be hatchbacks and are likely to be offered in both 3-door and 5-door trim.
The new models, competing with the Mercedes A-Class and B-Class, as well as the Audi A1 and A2, will offer more interior space, improved fuel economy and sell for less than their RWD counterparts. According to AutoCar, BMW isn’t worried about offering both a front-drive and rear-drive 1 Series as it believes the different models will attract different buyers. In particular, BMW hopes the new front-drivers will help bring new customers into the BMW fold. Both front drive and rear-drive models are expected to have distinguishable design traits.
It does without saying that these small cars will use 4-cylinder engines (or possibly even turbo 3-cylinder engines, like in the upcoming MINI models) mounted transversely to increase interior room, shorten the hood length and allow for the maximum wheelbase.
Set to launch in 2013, the first of the front-drive BMW hatches will be a 5-door along the lines of the VW Golf, but designed to compete with the A2 and A-Class, while a more sporting 1 Series in a 3-door layout, will debut after to compete with the A1.
With BMW looking to offer the new 1 Series hatchbacks as front-drive models, it’s not year clear if the current rear-drive hatches available in Europe will continue on.
Car Magazine is reporting BMW will use the third-generation MINI platform to build a new compact car.
The so-called “0 Series” (internally referred to as the “Untere Kompactklasse”, German for “Lower Compact Class”) will be slotted between the MINI and 1 Series to go up against Audi’s A1 and Mercedes’ A-Class.
Because it is based on the MINI platform, the 0 Series will be front wheel drive, a first for BMW.
Efficiency being its main selling point, the 0 Series will likely make use of BMW’s three or four cylinder engines and will help the company’s fleet meet CO2 and MPG requirements. A hybrid or electric version may also be a possibility.
Car Magazine reports the new car will come in two- and four-door hatchback versions as well as a two-door roadster.