• Feb 3rd 2008 at 4:41PM
  • 10

People are already comparing the new Smart with old microcars like the Iso (and BMW) Isetta, so it makes sense that BMW would consider producing a challenger using the old, but not forgotten, marque. Reports indicate that this is a distinct possibility. In an ironic twist, BMW may consider producing the microcar to offset their large luxury-performance cars to comply with upcoming European CO2 regulations. Back when the Isetta was initially launched, the profits from that model are what allowed BMW to branch into the large car market in the first place. How the times have changed!

Although the Smart is a thoroughly modern version of the microcar concept, the Isetta would draw a more retro profile. Hey, it's worked for BMW before - their Mini brand sets a fine pattern but is a tough act to follow. BMW has a great deal of experience making small and reliable motors for their line of motorcycles, so creating a suitable powerplant might not be a problem. Diesel engines would be a near lock for the European market, but no hybrid is planned for the States. Instead, a small turbocharged gasoline engine would likely be on the menu. If these reports prove accurate, retro and modern will go head-to-head once again in the microcar market, leading to more choices for the consumer.

[Source: Auto Express]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why settle for a cramped two-seater if you can have a truly innovative, safe and comfortable three seater Isetta? I am referring to this: http://www.michelinchallengedesign.com/MCD_2008/Site/mcd_gallery_2008/mcd_2008_2048/3-Drawings/Ralph_Panhuyzen/SEV_MCD-02.jpg

      This guy put some really serious thought into this. Which is often lacking with automotive designers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      @ Throwback -

      the Isetta was never a brand in it own right, just a model. BMW was the most successful of the companies that built it under license.


      A Mini-badged Isetta would mangle the various retro notions beyond recognition. A smaller version of the Mini - something closer to the original - had apparently been considered and rejected as the suits at BMW consider Mini a premium brand. Of course, BMW itself is even more of a premium brand so it'll be interesting to see which badge a revamped, fuel-sipping Isetta will wear - assuming it actually sees the light of day.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I owened an Isetta back 1965, it was used, of course, but I thought I had the wolrld on a string!! At least I thought I did, until my dumbo husband wrecked it! Boy, was I mad! I did all the driving after that! BTW we were only married 5 yrs. because he was an idiot in everything else he did, too! lol
      • 5 Years Ago

      Check it out for what it's worth!
      • 7 Years Ago
      'cause Mini Mini sounds silly. J/K but someone had to say it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Note that Auto Express' rendering is speculative, as is this one:


      It's not clear if BMW will really bring a revamped Isetta to market at all, as it is hard for a premium auto maker to turn a profit on small cars. Even if BMW gives the go-ahead, it's unclear if the vehicle will feature an engine in the front or in the rear (cp. VW Up! concepts for the NSF). The driven axle would presumably be right next to engine as a standard layout would increase cost and weight (i.e. fuel consumption) and, make little sense for such a pipsqueak anyhow.

      A modified version of the balanced parallel twin from the F 800 motorcycle series (BRP-Rotax 804) might be a good choice.


      The modifications might include increased piston stroke plus various tweaks to meet automotive emissions and further reduce fuel consumption and optionally, stronger mechanicals plus a turbo with intercooler. The notion of a turbocharged two-cylinder engine in a small car is not that far-fetched, cp. e.g. Fiat's upcoming SGE-900 or VW's plans for NSF variants for the emerging economies.

      However, the sequential transmission would probably not be carried over from the motorcycle version. A regular manual plus some form of automatic (e.g. GIF KRG, a roller CVT) would seem more likely.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why not make smaller Minis? You have an established brand which is well regarded world wide, to start a second small car brand makes no sense to me.

      • 7 Years Ago
      I own a59 300 since 68, got it for $35.00. still like new. repairs are few, leaks a little oil,that`s it, runs very well,even shows better. lots of trophys.you gotta love this car, served me well over the years still does!!!!!!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Awesome! I'll be able to park a new Isetta next to my MINI! Very cool!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have 3 of the isettas so come on bmw make it.
    Share This Photo X