BMW’s future front-wheel drive vehicles has been a highly debated subject here at BMWBLOG. Ever since first rumors hit the web, the BMW FWD vehicles created quite a controversy among BMW owners and fans. While the company has never given enough details around these vehicles, several sources close to the brand have anonymously shared some information.
Latest rumors comes from the same BMW insider Scott27 who gives us more insight into BMW’s future and the upcoming front-wheel drive models.
Content has been slightly modified, but the essence remains.
“BMW 1001 is the internal codename for the FWD vehicle.
Rendering of a future BMW FWD car
It is possibly the most unusual concepts strike fear into BMW enthusiasts. In marketing, BMW has always maintain their image represented by three core principles: image , dynamics and rear-wheel drive.
Now with the revelation that BMW have indeed drawn up plans to introduce a front-wheel drive car, the reactions get louder and increase the debate and fear.
First of all, contrary to media reports and enthusiasts of the BMW brand, front-wheel drive is part of a strategy to help the next generation MINI and its future variants to become more profitable and more cost effective for BMW to produce.
Initial strategies had led to talks with PSA, Fiat and of course Daimler, where in the begin, BMW proposed a MINI and Smart sharing program. Shortly the idea was dismissed when BMW decided to go alone.
The online enthusiast board reaction has been overwhelming negative towards the BMW philosophy, but some overlook one very important aspect – BMW already does front-wheel Drive and does it well.
A such car that has seen new impressive competition from Fiat 500 and Audi A1, has a great image and offers the customer a perfect choice of flexibility, it is called the MINI.
The front-wheel drive BMW is limited to a small car concept that will remain within this segment only. BMW has no intention to completely kill its golden goose and sacrifice its core models, such as the 1,3 or 5 Series, to accommodate front-wheel drive cars. These models will remain rear wheel drive.
The key to this is a brand new compact platform shared with the MINI and based on the outcome of the first vehicle, BMW will decide further if it’s feasible to build a range of models to support its new segment.
This new platform, which has been engineered to support the MINI and BMW 1001, will be used within each brand’s variants. MINI of course will be the first to expand and after an established period, the potential success will allow BMW’s design teams to draw up a range of additional concepts for the expansion.
Another key to the cost effectiveness of the car is that engines and drivetrains will also be shared, manual, automatic and electric drivetrains. Engines to be shared range from three and four cylinders, in both petrol and diesel variants.
The biggest issue engineers and designers are facing is whether to imitate the BMW Concept or start fresh, aiming for an entirely new appearance to signify this new direction. You will have typical BMW design elements, but reinterpreted to give a new impression of a totally different idea of a BMW.
The overall shape of the car differs completely from the typical MINI format, the closest intention on the market today is possibly the Honda CR-Z. In order to really sell home the concept, BMW wants the car to really strike out, not just from the MINI but also its competition.
The designers have gone for an edgier three-dimensional appearance. The design forgoes the use of lines to enhance wheel arches and now becomes more three-dimensional, so you can see the widening of the rear quarter.
One idea intended to signify this new direction for BMW, is expanding design cues, such as an enclosed normal glasshouse that is pushed inwards allowing a line that curves around the rear window forming the typical BMW kink impression in metal instead of the glass, following through the doors to the front wing. The A-Pillars follow the direction shown with the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept and continue down into the front wing leaving a typical BMW wheel at each corner. Triangular shaped lights sit upon each corner, with the typical BMW double round headlights stepped with one slightly below the other. Another idea is the inclusion of indicator signals directly underneath the angel eyes.
The front of the car gets a smaller twin kidney grille, again more three-dimensional as the front of the car allows the grille to be pushed further back.
At the rear of the car, we have light units faired inwards with the body covering over the top parts of the units. A glass area wraps around, but leaves a reasonable typical BMW C-Pillar. The shape of the glasshouse is dictated by the shape of the roof allowing a slope line.
The stand-out stylish design has been chosen to really signify the new direction, a regular hatch would not be a major selling point to deliver the concept.
The interior will be unique to the car, but as per BMW Group, the things will be individual to the brand, whilst the wiring etc will be shared across with MINI and BMW.
Another key factor for BMW is the driving comparison with MINI, and how the engineers will go to lengths to make sure that both MINI and the BMW 1001 offer as much differences underneath as they do in appearance.
The MINI will retain its typical MINI Go-Kart trademark handling, while BMW will be looking for a more dynamic approach, both levels of dynamics for these cars are attainable.
The 1001 will be used as a guinea pig to establish whether there is a market for a new BMW concept, but the general idea of thinking ahead is very much evident in additional concepts.
The 3-door city car will come first, but other ideas on the table seem to indicate an extensive strategy with a cabrio, small SAV or possibly Sport Activity Coupe, a Compact Tourer and even a small sedan.
One other thing in regarding to the 1001 is that it will not offer an extensive personalization program in the same way as MINI does. There will possibly be more of a personalization in terms of performance parts.
Why the need for a Premium front- wheel drive concept from BMW?
The recent recession taught us that customers are willing to downsize to other segments if there are vehicles offering the same luxury and features, as traditional luxury cars. The prime example is MINI. In some markets, MINI sales were actually rising. Further examination revealed that a large majority of these cars were being built with nearly every option in the brochure.
To signify the importance, BMW will preview the City Car concept in the future and be ready for launch in 2014.”
As always, please take these rumors with a grain of salt, and keep in mind that some of these plans can and will change.