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.
It’s a Venerable 'T' Party
Luxury automakers like to mess with us. That is the only conclusion we can come up with when looking at various manufacturer’s vehicle nomenclature.
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 Land Down Under just got some exciting news from Ford. Even though production is coming to an end, Australia will be gifted with 315 Ford Focus RS models in a limited edition production and available in three different colors.
“Customers, the motoring press, Ford enthusiasts and hot hatch fans have all been constantly asking us about Focus RS and when it might be coming to Australia, so we’re very pleased and incredibly excited to be able to confirm for everyone today that it’s on its way and will be here soon,” Ford Australia President & CEO Marin Burela said.
Available for close to $55,000 U.S., the Ford Focus RS is no cheap hatchback, but it’s definitely one hot hatch. Powered by a 2.5L inline-five turbocharged engine, the Focus RS pushes out 300-hp and 295 ft-lbs of torque. As mentioned before, the 315 buyers will be able to choose from Ultimate Green, Performance Blue and Frozen White as color choices.
And for those still looking for more info on the car, the interior sports Recaro seats and most of your standard run-of-the-mill amenities including six-disc CD player and eight-speaker Sony audio system.
GALLERY: Australian Ford Focus RS
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.