Autocar reports that BMW will produce a FWD platform to battle the Audi A1 and Mercedes ForFour in the premium small car segment. In the article, they claim Norbert Reithofer as a source of information on the topic while reporting from Geneva.
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While this remains a “rumor” for now, we wholeheartedly rebuke this concept and are disgusted at the prospect of a fwd BMW. BMW has been producing rear wheel drive cars since their inception based on a commitment to superior driving dynamics, safety and the “joy” of driving. Speaking of joy, we recall a certain ad campaign that promotes the genuine pleasure of driving BMW cars; certainly no fwd car can emulate the driving experience of a perfectly balanced, neutral handling BMW car. The day BMW produces a fwd car, the “Joy” campaign will become hypocrisy.
As an independent automotive manufacturer, BMW is one of the few car companies in the world who can resist compromise to deliver the ultimate product, that is, the ultimate driving machine. Decades of sacrifice on the alter of performance would be rendered null and void by the compromise of producing a front wheel drive car. True, it will only be used on their smallest, entry car – but until now all BMWs have been cut from the same cloth, with quality and performance standards maintained across the entire line, from the 1 series to the 7. Features, technology and engine output may vary, but not one model strays from perfect 50:50 weight distribution and rear wheel or rear-biased all wheel drive.
As we see it, there is a simple solution to maintain BMW’s uncompromising production of the “Ultimate Driving Machine” while satisfying the corporate push to produce profitable small cars in the premium segment. Simply badge any small fwd car as a MINI, or even under a resurrected Isetta brand. MINI is already a driving force in the premium small car segment, and creating competition across the BMW and MINI line up on the same car platform is nonsensical and redundant.
We sincerely hope that (if the fwd rumor has any truth in it) BMW listens to the overwhelming rejection of a fwd BMW from the core buyers of their brand. Let BMW remain the “BMW” of cars.
The full article by Autocar can be read by clicking here.