Editorial: BMW Z2 – A Front Wheel Drive? Warum?

Featured Posts, Rumors | March 17th, 2011 by 29
bmw z211 750x500 Editorial: BMW Z2 – A Front Wheel Drive? Warum?

Why? There’s a rumor floating around that BMW is building the Z2. As a two seat front wheel drive roadster!? Why? Front wheel drive is …

Why? There’s a rumor floating around that BMW is building the Z2. As a two seat front wheel drive roadster!? Why?

Front wheel drive is wonderful for tight packaging requirements, but you still have the compromise of the steered wheels also having to power the vehicle. It makes sense when you need to pack a family into a B class sized car. But it has never made sense in a two seat roadster.

A roadster that intends to provide some semblance of driving enjoyment, to the cognoscenti, is a two seat rear wheel drive platform. It should be nimble, as easy to turn as a go kart. Able to hang the rear end out with abandon. All the while eliciting a smile from the driver.

bmw z211 655x542 Editorial: BMW Z2 – A Front Wheel Drive? Warum?

There is one shining example of a small, right priced, right platform roadster and it’s the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Why has Mazda been able to sell so many (9000,000 plus) of these cars in thirty years? Because they got the formula right. (And for those of you who haven’t driven a Miata, you need to).

Or heck, if you want to go a bit upscale, do what Porsche does, a mid-engined sports car, the Boxster. An excellent car. Worth the price of admission too. Or you could find a decent last generation Toyota MR-2.

But a FWD roadster? Please. Does anybody remember the Mercury Capri from the last ’80s? No? Well that tells you something about a the relevance of FWD roadsters. If ever there was a hairdresser’s car, the FWD Capri was it. A poser-mobile, not a sports car. And throw the Punto based Fiat Barchetta in with that too. Neither car sold in the numbers deemed necessary for survival.

The idea that BMW could build a reasonably priced two seat true sports car that would cement younger buyers into the driving qualities of the brand’s products would be great. If BMW has decided that they don’t want to siphon potential sales of the Z4 by making the Z2 front wheel drive, then they are close to, if not having already, lost their way.

A front wheel drive Z2 will be a niche too far. And that’s the opinion of someone that has a Dave Kimble cutaway of Leon Duray’s front wheel drive Miller Indy car hanging prominently on the den wall.

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