BMW’s first front-wheel drive vehicles are coming back to focus. UK magazine Autocar reports that the front-wheel drive vehicles are now entering their final twelve months of testing with the world premiere taking place at the end of 2012.
The 1 Series front-wheel drive models are based on the all-new front-wheel drive platform and will take advantage of BMW’s new three-cylinder 1.5 liter turbocharged petrol and diesel engines. The Munich-based automaker will also offer an xDrive version.
The N37 power unit will deliver at least 160 horsepower and 95 g/km CO2 rating for diesel units. The high-end 1 Series with front-wheel drivetrain will be powered by a TwinPower engine with 180 horsepower.
First model to launch will be 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.
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.
BMW insiders suggest there could be 1 million front-drive BMWs and Minis produced annually by the end of the decade.