BMW front-wheel drive vehicle to launch in 2013

Rumors | May 15th, 2010 by 19
BMW-Concepts-front-wheel drive

Back in March, BMW’s CEO, Her Norbert Reithofer confirmed that a BMW front-wheel drive vehicle is on their roadmap and will launch in the near …

Back in March, BMW’s CEO, Her Norbert Reithofer confirmed that a BMW front-wheel drive vehicle is on their roadmap and will launch in the near future. Back then, Reithofer outlined BMW’s medium term product strategy and also “touched” the latest survey on BMW 1 Series and the false assumption of a FWD vehicle: “It is true about 80 percent of the 1-series owners we surveyed either thought their car was front wheel drive or that they didn’t know the layout. But these were the drivers of the three and five-door hatchback models.” (Read our editorial on “A Brief History of Front Wheel Drive”)

Today, UK magazine Autocar reports that the first front-wheel bimmer will launch in 2013, in a hatchback form, and it will be positioned as a new entry-level model. The new car will be based on the next-generation MINI platform and surprisingly, it could carry the 1 Series badge name, giving buyers a choice between front or rear-wheel drive vehicles within that family.

The similarities stop here though and while the badge name might be identical, the two models will be distinguished by unique designs and price points, with the rear-wheel drive units positioned higher on the scale.

BMW front wheel drive vehicle to launch in 2013

Rendering illustrated above

In regards to a potential sales slice from the MINI sales, a BMW insider told Autocar that “Both brands possess a clear and individual image”, pointing to the VW and Audi’s Golf and A3 vehicles.

Without a doubt, currently, the two brands, BMW and MINI, appeal to different demographics. Just as VW and Audi appeal to different audiences, BMW will aim its front-drive and rear-drive 1-series at different buyers.

To increase sales and share market, BMW plans to win new customers and the front-wheel drive could drive these new sales. “We want a car that will appeal to non-BMW buyers with a focus on roominess and interior flexibility, yet like our existing entry-level model it will be fun to drive and cheap to run.”, a BMW insider told the UK magazine.

The first of the new front-drive BMWs to appear in UK showrooms will be a tall five-door, five-seat hatchback, a rival for the upcoming Audi A2 and next-gen Mercedes A-class. It will offer the sort of interior space and overall practicality not found in the rear-drive 1-series.

The keys to the front-drive car’s spaciousness are a transversely mounted engine and gearbox. These have allowed engineers to create an uncharacteristically short bonnet for a BMW. This flows into A-pillars positioned well forward of the front wheel arches. The altered front-end architecture helps to free up cabin space by moving the bulkhead closer to the front axle than in any existing BMW model. The driving position also moves forward within the wheelbase, and the seat is positioned higher to give a more commanding view of the road.

At a recent event, BMWBLOG also learned about similar future plans, but no official confirmation or statement has been given.

With three years before its launch, the first prototypes are scheduled to start road testing sometimes in 2011.

Thanks for the tip Giom!

[Source: Autocar ]

  • okeribok

    “When BMW launches an FWD vehicle, I will look for other options too”, was my first thought, but if this helps BMW remain profitable and produce excellent RWD vehicles, preferably with i6, I guess I’m OK with it.

  • n8n

    I will never agree with this… BMW should be always RWD… None FWD car gives fun as RWD… ehhh

  • http://www.e-cars.ro BogdanSBG

    They will gona destroy what BMW built in the entire life. First was that guy with the 5 series in 2003 that made customers to run from it. And now, these guys with FWD. I bought all BMWs from 1990 till present time, But Oh My God, NO WAY ! I will never buy a BMW wit ha FWD.

  • http://www.bmwblog.com jkp

    You guys think they had a choice after Obama raised the CAFE requirements? Get real. This change was not made in Munich, it was from the US Government.

  • http://www.bmwblog.com jkp

    I do disagree with the idea that it’ll be badged a 1-series. It needs to be differentiated from the 1.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1631237176 Vaybach Khan

    well i wouldnt like to see bmw ,a class like, combi like product…as i understood ..bmw is making a class ,audi a1 competitor and a small vehicle like smart or iq???

  • Bryce

    I would love a BMW hatchback… if they make a RWD 3-door hatchback as well, but at a higher price point, then I will definitely be paying the higher price!

  • Peter Louies

    A RWD and FWD car badged as 1-series? It should be badged differently. I can understand that they can not label it 0-series but some other options should be possible. they also managed to come up with X, Z,… and others.

    “I bought a 1-series, but… ehr… with FWD.” How stupid do you sound when saying this to anyone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.mews Robert Mews

    This is terrible for the BMW brand.

    • Doug

      Well, look at the direction they want to take the BMW brand in: “We want a car that will appeal to non-BMW buyers”

  • Laszlo

    JKP – give me a break – Obama did this ? Did he do all the bad things to you ? What are you a white supremacy racist ? Come on man, get real. BMW has the best efficiency of all car manufacturers in the premium segment by far. They could the meet the new CAFE and then some , easy with FWD.

    Its all about profitability. The small cheaper FWD vehicles like Honda Civic and others success that dictated this step. Sure they will use these super efficient cars to compensate for the useless HP monsters like X5M and X6M and 760Li , etc.
    But in order to keep those alive, they needed a small car to fill the segment they missed. That segment become more and more important since 2008 and BMW did not wanted to leave anything on a table.
    A FWD car will always be cheaper to build.
    All of you who cries WOLF, there is a FWD BMW already in a lineup. The MINI. That car is a true BMW in all but in the name. End of the story.

  • Tom

    If you poll all drivers about whether they drive a FWD or RWD car, most will guess FWD. If you gave all drivers the preference to drive a FWD or RWD car, most will prefer a RWD car. All that poll indicates is that most people are uneducated about the dynamics of their cars. The poll should not be an indicator for BMW to build an FWD car.

    • Doug

      Wooord.

      • Auday

        I bet you if they ask the same people about the HP, the engine size, or maybe even the number of cylinders in their cars, they wouldn’t be able to tell.

        90% of BMW buyers are after the social status of the Brand and the luxury, so BMW could sell cars with cheaper technology for the same price and they customers are still happy thinking “it’s a BMW it should be the best”.

        It’s sad that Hyundai is moving to RWD and producing phenomenal drivers cars like the new Genesis, while BMW is building what Hyunadi used to have (FWD) and sticking their badge on them.

  • v1p3r

    I’ve said it before, but if you don’t want a front wheel drive BMW, don’t buy it. Somebody else will, and that will give higher market share and profits to BMW, which in turn, allows them to continuue building the awesome RWD vehicles we love. Same as with the X6M, don’t like it? – don’t buy it. Someone else wants it, so BMW can make money, to build the always awesome ///M3, //M5, 3-series etc. BMW has yet to build a disappointing car according to me, whatever they build is gold. Even the X M-cars are masterpieces and class-leaders, in looks, dynamics and performance.

  • v1p3r

    oh yes, and I’m not the douche anti-BMW viper who usually posts here. lol

  • E46Fanatic

    Haha dam straight man.

  • Alex

    You can’t make everything for everyone. BMW should stay RWD, just like ///Ms should be cars, not trucks, but I disgrace. I think BMW is trying to bite more than they can chew.

  • bmwfan

    at least their offering people choice between fwd and rwd not abandoning rwd, people that drive a 1series cant even tell its rwd

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