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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.
BMW North America CEO Jim O’Donnell apparently made some “disparaging” remarks about electric vehicles, including his dislike for EV tax credits, and his belief that the battery range currently available makes them an unrealistic proposition for “at least 90 percent” of the population.
O’Donnell subsequently apologized for his remarks, and re-affirmed his commitment to BMW’s EV program, stating ”I want to stress I am 100% behind our company’s plans to design, develop, lease and sell electric vehicles. We are confident we are on the right path with the range and flexibility of the all-new BMW ActiveE and the forthcoming BMW i3 (seen above).”
For our part, we think O’Donnell was being candid and perhaps a bit too honest, especially regarding the company he works for, but we are inclined to agree with his original statements, despite our enthusiasm for electric car technology.
Jim O’Donnell, the man in charge of BMW North America has said that the next iteration of the company’s 6 Series will be the “best-looking BMW in years.” O’Donnell made the comments to Automobile magazine prior to the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Calling it, “really stunning,” O’Donnell said that both the coupe and convertible models will be radically different than the current car, which has been harshly critiqued for everything from its enormous “Bangle-butt” rear end to its plane-Jane design that is somewhat unbecoming of its price tag.
The move seems to be the latest in a long list of changes the company has made over the past few years to quietly correct its mistakes with the previous generation of cars. From all-but eliminating the iDrive system to de-Bangleing its designs, BMW is making big changes. And if the new look of vehicles like the 7 Series and Z4 are an hint, we’re sure to love the new 6.
As for when we might see such a car; it is expected to make its official debut at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, although a concept version could most certainly appear long before then.
[Source: Automobile Magazine]