AutomobileMag: Sneak Preview – BMW’s Front-Wheel-Drive Future

Rumors | August 24th, 2010 by 25
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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 …

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” )

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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.

[Source: Automobile Mag | Photo – Andrei Avarvarii for Automarket ]

25 responses to “AutomobileMag: Sneak Preview – BMW’s Front-Wheel-Drive Future”

  1. Daniel Hoang says:

    FWD is reserved for economy cars, not prenium brand cars like BMW. If someone wanted a FWD German car, go get a GTI.

    • FreudeKing says:

      Those idiots at BMW must realise that it is not whether BMW is a strong enough brand to offer FWD – which they actually said it is. It is whether you can mess up a brand’s image by offering what the brand does not stand for. The fact that they said that BMW is strong enough to offer FWD cars shows the fact that they KNOW that offering FWD is against what BMW stands for and that it is something that will impair brand image, that’s why they say it is strong enough to take this knock.

      So the problem is then simple, they want short term profits and the way to do it is by knocking down BMW’s exclusive brand image and offer inferior products to customers. SHAME ON THOSE WHO ARE SITTING AT BMW’S HEADQUARTERS MAKING THESE INSANE DECISIONS.

  2. viper says:

    bmw going into wrong direction one too many times.

  3. bunker says:

    if BMW built rolling turds, this render would be that car.

  4. 1Mc says:

    I don’t mind the X5M’s the X6M’s, the limited edition M3’s, the GTS that’s nearly twice the price of the CSL, the electric/hybrid BMW’s, the shooting brake or GT cars. In fact I think it’s all great.

    But a FWD BMW is a hard pill to swallow.

  5. Brad says:

    This is rediculous! Front wheel drive? Completely wrong Direction. Sure BMW will pick up a few new buyers, but now they are ruing the brand that they worked so hard for and we have grown to love. Where is the exclusivity in owning a BMW now? Keep the BMW a BMW, and leave front wheel drive to Mini!
    It seems like they are starting to make the same mistakes the American car companies made years ago. Thats why we starte buying BMW’s in the first place right? PLEASE NO FWD!

  6. Kenee says:

    This is one amazing rendering of the coming next phase of the 5 GT. Whether it is front or real drive is not the point; the point is that this would have a massive appeal amongst hardcore BMW fans for reason of its design and original looks.

  7. Brad says:

    I’ve never met anyone who found the GT very attractive, but I cant argue that as a business decision this will expand BMW’s market share. The problem is it brings the high end appeal of BMW down a notch.

    • kcsnyud says:

      The problem is they’re introducing too many “practical” models, and not enough for the enthusiast. They care too much about green- vision efficiantdynamics supercar anyone?

      • FreudeKing says:

        The problem is not that they care too much about green – it is that they market it so much that they neglect that their core brand value is sportiness and excellent driving dynamics,which they need to constantly advertise. ED is important, but these are secondary things – that’s why Audi is taking advantage of this gap and grabbing BMW’s sales.

  8. fadi says:

    it is clear now that BMW mangement should GO HOME DIRECTLY…. they are transforming BMW into TOYOTA ….FUCK PROFIT FUCK PROFITTT ,it is something temporal while history lives forever, this is BMW we know and what it “should be”

    • FreudeKing says:

      Absolutely, those people must GO HOME! The only possible reason they could be doing this is that their bonuses are based on profits.

  9. efoza says:

    Clearly a grand 5 GT inspired rendering. I wonder whether BMW would ever move towards lights like this but the 5 GT look is a wonderful sight

  10. paul says:

    they dont even make the best fwd car out there…the minis good but not that good….why bother with this? I hope it fails as well as the GT did, and the megacity will to btw…who the f*** is going to pay 25K (according to reports) for a SMART with a bmw badge???

  11. Mike says:

    Though only a rendering, I think the front end looks like crap…… very cartoonish!

  12. Gabe says:

    HAHahahha. This has to be the ugliest BMW rendering of all time.

  13. JakeM says:

    A few years ago, every BMW fan(boy) I knew was proudly proclaiming that BMW was such a “pure” brand because they had no forced induction motors (do their turbodiesels count?) and “never will have” (hmmm, I wonder what the 2002 Turbo was all about). Then came the 335i – and these people were all over that car neglecting to mention that it was twin-turbocharged (and now is single-turbocharged). Isn’t the next-generation M5 supposed to be powered by a forced induction motor? Nobody’s complaining.

    And there was that recent survey that found out that 80% of BMW 1 series owners thought their 1 series was FWD. If they thought their 1 series was FWD and they still bought it – well, then guess what? A FWD BMW will sell then. To people who care more about the badge than the drive. And you know what? That’s completely normal with the vast majority of luxury brand customers.

    And whoever said that FWD is “reserved for economy cars” is a clown. In the 1930s there were a bunch of FWD luxury cars from AUDI (Wanderer, Auto Union), Citroen and in the US from Cord 812. FWD in premium cars became common in the 1970s and 1980s, especially in Europe and the United States (Citroen, Cadillac, Buick and so forth). Big deal. Most people who own luxury cars drive them in a relaxed and dignified manor. They don’t take them unto a track so nobody will really give a damn if their cars are FWD or not.

    All this whining reminds me of the “hardcore BMW fans” who claim that a “4-cylinder BMW is not a real BMW”. The idiocy behind THAT statement is just too much to handle.

    • FreudeKing says:

      @JakeM: I question the credibility of the 1 Series driver survey. I am wondering if management had their hands on some data manipulation when doing that survey in order to make a point as to support their stupid FWD ideas. what was the sample size? what were the demographic details of the people questioned? alo bear in mind that if they questioned the drivers (if wives) and the husbands were making the purchasing decisions, then their survey’s objective is defeated. I drive a 1 Series and I most certainly know it is a RWD and it was one of the most important purchasing factor.

      It is incorrect to say that BMW purchasers don;t care about the driving dynamics of the car. Don’t you forget why BMW’s brand is so strong today. They are not so strong because they drive like Audi’s or VW’s. and BMW customers know very well the brand and the core values that make the brand – sad that management at BMW is about to take awa one of those core competence that gives the company a competitive advantage.

      In case you don’t know, FWD is known to be an inferior type of drivetrain as it give poor handling but budget cars use them becasue of the low cost of production and development. The reason why Audi has FWD is becasue they are VWs, A3 is a Golf, A4 is a Passat/Jetta, Q5 is a VW T(whatever), Q7 is a Toureg. Why else do you think they have such a high profit margin per unit. I mean the Q5 customers would have noticed the same door handles as the VW Polos – just terrible. They know themselves that RWD is better – why else did they make a Quattro that has predominantly RWD, it’s because they want their cars to handle like BMWs.

      Yes, I drive my car in a decent manner and not on the limit at a race track, but the driving feel of the A4 and the 3 Series, A3 and the 1 Series is just so different, with Audi being the inferior one. The steering feel, the pedal pressures and controls, the engine sound, the feel is just below that of BMW.

      • JakeM says:

        @ FreudeKing

        It would be foolish for the management of BMW to “edit” this survey data in order to build a car that in the end nobody will want. No, the survey makes sense because the vast majority of luxury shoppers out there buy the car because of the badge. The majority of people don’t care if it is FWD, AWD or RWD.

        My girlfriend drives a Saab 9-3 and doesn’t even know what engine is underneath the hood. She can tell you that’s a gasoline motor but the displacement or number of cylinders are unknown to her. Such people are the stereotypical luxury clients. Oh, and the FWD Saab 9-3 drives pretty well. You can have some serious fun with that car on backroads and the handling capabilities of that FWD car are pretty good. No serious driving enthusiast will take a Saab 9-3 unto a track for competitive driving.

        A small number of BMW owners are enthusiasts (this applies to all brands) who may care about RWD, manual transmissions etc., but the majority don’t. They want a car with the BMW badge up front or they want a car that perceive as sporty but will actually never drive it in that fashion. Let’s be honest – how many BMW owners actually bring their car unto a racetrack? Out of say 10 BMW owners in North America, maybe a maximum of 2-3 are driving enthusiasts. The rest could care less. A true driving enthusiast will stick with BMW or go to a similar brand such as Infiniti.

        FWD is useful because it saves weight, improves fuel economy and it’s advantageous in the winter. I have no problems with BMW if they make a FWD car because I as the consumer still have a choice of buying a RWD BMW. Most 1 series owners probably don’t even take their 1 series unto a track, so the logic behind this FWD BMW will be that this smaller BMW won’t be a competitive track car either. Also, if anyone can make a good-handling FWD car it’s BMW. FWD cars can handle delightfully nice like a VW GTI, one of the most fun cars I’ve ever driven by the way.

        • FreudeKing says:

          Firstly, it is very easy for management to justify this sort of behaviour as the short term gain, which their profits are probably based on, will mean that BMW will be able to sell these FWD. In the long term (when management is probably no longer around), the brand image would have been impaired. Why else do you think so many people are opposing this??? It goes against what the company stands for!

          Yes, you can have fun with FWD, but will a FWD ever drive as nicely as a BMW? The GTI is nice to drive, but I immediately notice the shortcoming of it and the inferiority when compared to a basic 1 Series hatch the second I accelearate and turn.

          Your argument of the customers only buying because of the brand: why is there a a good brand image in the first place? BMW’s brand image is built on their handling superiority, quality and value. If they start coming up with Audi products and VW type of setup, then I am afriad they will piss a lot of customers off.

          You know, what the hell is the problem with NOT badging this FWD thing as another brand instead of badging it a BMW so that you can boost short term sales. The only possible reason why this FWD is badged as a BMW (rumoured) is to boost short term sales. Don’t come with this future sustainability thing here, it is not like you will drop the 5 and 7 Series. This is an addition.

          • JakeM says:

            @ FreudeKing

            There are going to be a lot of changes in the car business and FWD BMWs are going to be part of that. That’s all I can say at this point because our arguments are going nowhere.

            Again, a few years ago everybody was proud of the fact that BMW didn’t use forced induction (aside from their turbodiesels). The 335i then came out and NOBODY, NOBODY really lamented the fact that it used twin-turbos.

            FWD in cars that don’t make too much power is completely safe. The moment you move past/around 220-horsepower and the equivalent torque ratings FWD can be a problem. This future FWD BMW will most likely be some entry-level city car slotted in beneath the 1 series. The FWD setup will allow the car to be lighter, more efficient and cheaper for the consumer to purchase as well.

  14. Danny Shore says:

    looks as if it has down syndrome

  15. Artmic says:

    Honestly, if i wanted a fwd car, i wouldn’t buy it from BMW, why pay premium for a badge, and a car that drives like 50% of a regular bmw….

    As for BMW making more profit, they should, lower the price of their 5, 6, and 7 series… business would pickup.

  16. :( says:

    This car looks like an angry porky…

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