The future BMW Front Wheel Drive model was spied in Germany during the usual test driving process. Sporting the psychedelic camouflage we became accustomed to, the 2013 BMW with front-wheel drive architecture sports an unusual design, with a taller upright monobox and the proportions of a smaller “sports van”.
The BMW mini-van is internally known as the Advanced Family Sports Activity Tourer. BMW insiders say the idea is to mix the space and flexibility of an MPV, the solidity of an SAV with the shape of a larger Touring model, but have maintain the car-like appearance. With AFAST, short for Advanced Family Sports Activity Tourer, BMW’s ideas are to reinterpret the concept of a van to be more car-like, but without compromising space, flexibility and driving dynamics.
Apparently the BMW AFAST goes to the design table as demanded by customers who want a more premium offering which still fulfills their requirements around a van, but maintains the BMW values.
Sharing architecture with the next MINI , BMW FAST, as referenced by other BMW sources, is a front-wheel drive vehicle, but an optional xDrive might be offered as well. The BMW Family Activity Sports Tourer is a working title, and the new model is being aligned with a newly expanded 1-series family. It’s not yet clear whether the FAST will be badged 1-series or not.
The UKL is quite different from the second-generation rear-drive 1 Series. The primary difference between the two is that the front-drive car has its engine mounted transversely under a comparatively short bonnet rather than longitudinally under a typically long bonnet. With drive being sent to the front wheels rather than channeled via a propshaft to the rear wheels, the layout has given BMW’s designers the freedom to dispense with the transmission tunnel running back through the interior. This should increase the amount of available space, especially in the rear.
Also, the new layout has also allowed BMW to rethink the car’s proportions, with the front bulkhead and A-pillars being brought further forward. This will increase the volume of the cabin to a level comparable with Europe’s best-seller, the Volkswagen Golf, and the Audi A3.
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, the 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.
According to Car Magazine, BMW insiders suggest there could be 1 million front-drive BMWs and Minis produced annually by the end of the decade.
[Photo: Car Magazine ]