BMW’s front-wheel drive future vehicles subject comes back in focus. Automobile Magazine gives us some new insight into the future FWD bimmers and what we should we expect to see.
In the recent months, BMW executives have confirmed that BMW brand is strong enough to branch out into building front-wheel drive cars and their ability to build sporty, dynamic cars even with different core values.
As we mentioned back in 2009 and reiterated now by AutomobileMag, BMW will develop its front-wheel-drive portfolio simultaneously with the next-generation MINI lineup on the UKL1 architecture. The collaboration will result in three BMW-MINI pairings with each set distinguished by a unique door arrangement. The ULK1 architecture offers both front- and all-wheel drive. (See “A Brief history of front-wheel drive” )
Rendering BMW 1 Series Gran Turismo
The first vehicles will arrive in 2013 and according to the magazine, BMW Joy and MINI Clubman will open the way. Joy is rumored to be the internal name of the 1 Series Gran Turismo, a vehicle that has been highly debated by BMWBLOG as well.
While the news of a 1 Series GT are past the rumors stage, we feel obligated to point out once again that quoting our BMW sources, the 1 Series family will continue to feature a rear-wheel drive platform. Several other BMW models around the 1 Series are indeed prime candidates for FWD.
BMW will differentiate Joy from the Clubman, with the latter one getting two full-length, rear-hinged aft doors and retain the split barn doors for the tailgate.
Another new model mentioned by the magazine is the BMW Compact Activity Tourer. These vehicles feature four conventional doors and large single-piece tailgates, but the higher roofs to lend them a more utilitarian look that’s more crossover than car.
BMW FAV or Family Activity Vehicle Sporster, and MINI Traveller are two other family-oriented vehicles that are said to be part of BMW’s future plans. Both the BMW and MINI models are to be family- and leisure-oriented, boasting sliding rear doors, longer rear overhangs, and super-flexible interiors.
Engine wise, the long-time rumored three-cylinder engines are most likely going to power entry level MINI vehicles. The super sporty and enthusiasts’ oriented Cooper S and Johm Cooper Works will continue to utilize more powerful engines.
Making things even more exciting for BMW and MINI fans, AutomobileMagazine reports on a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder producing 272 hp. The volume-model gas and diesel three-cylinders would be good for up to 184 hp and 122 hp, respectively.
BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer notes that selling three-cylinder MINIs may present a challenge: “Although the three is definitely an up-and-coming thing, some markets like North America may be skeptical in how far down you can go. For our rear-wheel cars, fours and sixes have therefore a clear mid-term priority.”
At the moment, the veracity of these news has yet to be confirmed by our sources, and we continue to believe that the new 1 Series family will certainly remain a rear-wheel drive business, but at the same time, new niche BMW products around the segment may appear in a FWD setup.