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BMW May Launch 13 Front-Drive Cars

 

03 February 2011 - Rumors about front-wheel-drive vehicles have been swirling around BMW for some time now, and word on the Bavarian street is that this drivetrain shift in BMW's portfolio is set to launch sooner than we may think. Initially, we believed front-wheel drive would be limited to just a sub-compact here and a compact coupe there, but now comes word that the German automaker could produce up to 13 front-wheel-drive vehicles by 2016.

According to CAR and a source within BMW, the first BMW-branded front-driver will be the 1 Series GT in 2014. Because of its drivetrain layout, it will achieve greater interior volume than the next-generation, rear-wheel-drive 1 Series hatchback. It shall be related to the next-generation Mini Clubman, which will be longer and feature rear doors on both sides. CAR reported that the third-generation 1 Series arriving for perhaps 2017 or 2018 is likely to be front-drive as well, since owners of the hatchback in Europe are apparently unconcerned with which wheels power their car. We're not sure coupe buyers would agree.

Come 2016, CAR says BMW will launch a car code-named FAST, a sort of Mercedes B-Class vehicle that we'd wager doesn't have much of a chance for American importation. On the other hand, the BMW Z2 sounds like a car that could land here in 2016, a small Miata-sized roadster with power kept up front like the 90s-era Lotus Elan. Given how expensive the Z4 has become and how successful the cheaper Z3 was, the approximately $32,000 Z2 could work despite where its power comes from.

The other two front-drive BMWs will likely be the second-generation X1 and that subcompact dubbed "Joy" for now. It shall be available with three and five doors, unlike the third-generation Mini upon which it will be based. No word on how BMW will handle the tricky situation of a car smaller than the 1 Series. Would you buy a 0 Series? 0.5 Series? 50% Series?

As for Mini, that third-generation Mini Cooper should arrive by 2013 (with three-cylinder engines in Europe), followed by the convertible and Clubman two years later. The "big" Mini news from CAR, however, is the plans for a Mini-Mini -- a microhatch roughly the size of the 10-foot original Issigonis Mini. Hopefully that makes it across the pond, and ditto for the Mini Activity Tourer (the Mini Van?) which will probably have a sort of VW Microbus vibe. These could come by 2016 followed the next year by the second-generation Countryman and the year after by the next-generation Mini Coupe and Roadster.

So that would be 13 new front-drive cars from BMW Group within five years. Mini in particular would stand at nine models: Cooper hatch, Cooper convertible, Clubman, Coupe, Roadster, Countryman, Paceman, Mini Van and Mini Mini.

 








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