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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.
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]
So far we have heard several reports of a new front-drive model from BMW, but now comes confirmation from BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer. “There will be front-wheel-drive BMWs in the smaller vehicle classes in the future,” said Reithofer during a press conference about the German automaker’s finances.
The architecture will actually be both front-drive and AWD capable and will be used for a new lineup of BMW and MINI cars – meaning MINIs are also set to get AWD. Currently all BMW models are rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
According to Automotive News, the new platform will arrive in 2013 with the third generation of the new MINI hatch. Up to 20 different BMW and MINI models are set to ride on this new architecture.
[Source: Automotive News]