• Mar 9, 2010
Rumors of a front-wheel drive model to slot in below the 1 Series have been circulating for some time, with the most recent report coming last October. Now, Autocar has confirmed with BMW's chairman, Norbert Reithofe, that an all-new model is coming from the automaker, designed to compete with the recently introduced Audi A1 and built atop the next generation Mini's platform.

However, the unsurprising introduction of a new premium sub-compact won't just be limited to BMW – Reithofer told Autocar that, "We will be extending the BMW and Mini brands into the small car segment with new models and variants." The exec also took pains to differentiate the new Bimmer from the upcoming Mega City EV, saying that this new model is being developed for both front- and all-wheel drive applications, and that the new urban runabout is a separate endeavor.

Combined with the next Mini, due out as early as 2013, the automaker wants to become more than a bit player in the compact class, and in order to keep volumes of scale in check, the new FWD BMW is likely to be built alongside its Mini counterpart in Oxford.

Plans for a revamped 1 Series are also in the works, but the automaker hasn't determined whether the next 1er will be rear- or front-wheel drive. Regardless, the introduction of BMW's first FWD model signals a significant shift, but as long as the brand's patented driving dynamics are present and accounted for, it's hardly the end of the world.

[Source: Autocar]


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  • 73 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      WHY THE HELL DO CAR MAKERS THINK THAT THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE A CHEAPER CAR IS TO MAKE IT SMALLER????

      Id like to see a cost analysis of a 3 series coupe, and a 1 series coupe and know how much more, in base materials, NOT options the 3 series costs if anything.

      If I am going to buy a BMW its going to fit my needs. I am not going to settle for a soda can of a car just so I can have a BMW badge.

      the larger the car, the more expensive it is, is a load of crap, and proportional to nothing in reality.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Haha, 318ti FTW!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good job BMW! You are now just a marketing organization posing as a performance automobile company. I knew something was wrong when I first saw the X6 and the awful Mini SUV. But really, a FWD, badge engineered, BMW branded econobox? You aren't even trying anymore.

      A very, very, very sad day indeed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Tuna: true, but those issues typically happen when you've installed hard shocks, heavy wheels, or are involved in other malarkey. It's not very common.

        There are also the cooling issues, all with known fixes. But plenty of 200-300k+ e36's are running about. I've got 170k on mine and it runs like new.

        I suppose you could say the e36 is an absolute steal to buy used for the do-it-yourselfer like me. If you take care of the quirks, they last.

        But the e90 has been known to have some engine problems and ECU issues. the 335 has a problematic fuel pump.. and that electronic dipstick with 12,000 mile oil changes does not sound kosher by any means.
        • 4 Years Ago
        tuna: Yeah, it doesn't excuse that problem. I wonder how old the cars are that get hit by it, though - over 10 years old? Usually the motor, tranny, or something else will go first.

        The problem can be fixed or prevented, but it's ~$2000 -_-

        Anyway me and a friend both have '96 328is's, mine has 170k, his has 190k & no major issues or subframe breakage. Our drivetrains still run like new. I can't complain. Not many cars last this long or drive this well at such an age.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They've had reliability issues forever. Look up subframe and differential mounts cracking for your E36. Then look up the same issues for the E46. Then look up structural problems with the Z8.
        • 4 Years Ago
        tuna,
        If I'm not mistaken (and I certainly could be mistaken), the Z3, M Roadster, and M Coupe were all riding on e30 rear ends welded to the unibody undercarriage of those cars. That was clearly a design fault, especially in the M-spec cars which SHOULD be driven hard at least some of the time. The e30 system was great in the e30, but it clearly didn't translate very well to the larger, more powerful cars, with bigger wheels and heavier spring loads.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually they've been in a funky space for a while. I think they built their reputation up like Toyota did & got complacent & misdirected recently. I hear some complaints about e90 reliability already.

        The crossover cars don't make any damn sense at all. Their lineup is getting bizarre now.. yeah, MINI SUV? are you kidding me?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Tuna: true, but those issues typically happen when you've installed hard shocks, heavy wheels, or are involved in other malarkey. It's not very common."

        Not true. The Z3, M Roadster, M Coupe also suffer the same problems. Not all cases had aftermarket suspension. Besides, seriously, a $30K+ cars (when new) that can't handle sport springs and shocks?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very interesting. It may be out of character, but they have already proven that they know how to do FWD with the mini.

      I'd love to see them make a small hatchback that would compete with the Golf ( but totally kick it's butt.. ).. if the handling was up to snuff i'd buy one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @neptronix

        It's Rover that knew how to do front and four wheel drive. That's why BMW purchased the brand on the cheap and why they had the Mini and the X5 on the market quicker than if they had to start from scratch on their own.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Adrian: o'rly?
        • 4 Years Ago
        REPORT: BMW working on new, lighter, less electronic geewhiz, car thats affordable and has no iDrive(not even as an option).
        • 4 Years Ago
        zamafir: Yeah, i happen to be one of those guys who loves the MINI but loathes the interior to a comical extent.

        So basically what i'm looking for is a Cooper S with a interior swap, to be completely honest :P
        I don't think such a car makes sense or will be a big seller but i'm interested.

        Yeah, it could be some move with an alterior motive like meeting CAFE. A lot of undesirable economy cars have been born out of that. Sad.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think what people here are failing to understand is that Mini as a stand alone platform, while successful, has been a money loser for BMW. They have tried to partner with Mercedes & Fiat, but it hasn't worked out. So we are seeing six different Mini models, and now a joint BMW models. Factor in Europe's CO2 regs and the upcoming cafe standards here in the States, they have to build more small cars. So they are using what they have, the Mini platform. The Audi A1 has the Polo platform, the Fiat 500 has the Panda platform, nothing extraordinary here. The inclusion of awd should keep the purists more or less happy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They do. It's called the mini. That's the strange thing here. The mini starts off below the GTI in terms of $$, and tops out above the A3, so it is all things to all people. Audi's pushing the A1 because the A3 can't handle that spread... and now BMW is countering by backfilling their lineup with something to address what... this is as big of a face plam creating move as the xWHATEVERTHEHELLhybrid
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm just seriously curious about what they are going to call this model.
        • 4 Years Ago
        020i wrongdrive GT M-sport.

        Makes sense.
        • 4 Years Ago
        0-series fDrive16i
      • 4 Years Ago
      And the brand dilution continues.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And I forgot my most important point - not everyone wants a large luxury car, there is definitely a market (in the EU a HUGE market) for tiny cars that offer sumptuous levels of luxury and/or performance. But it doesn't come at the price point of a Hyundai Accent. The general North American public seem to have a problem with luxury in small packages with a mindset that cost should be proportionate to size, though this seems to be slowly changing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There has never been, is not, and shall never be a FWD BMW.
      In other words, there is no 'F' in "BMW".
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bimmer is proving its huge incompetence to make something different in the small car market by basing its 0-Series on a complete Mini platform. Instead of this, they could share the Mini powertrain by mounting it rear-midship (something like the Z13 concept) or even go further and make a platform that could be able to use both FWD for Mini and RWD for BMW.
      Maybe they could look at BMW Motorrad and learn that is very possible to make a transverse engine and send the power to the rear axle, even by using a driveshaft. Think about something as the T-Drive of some concepts of Ford, but instead of leave it only in the experimental stage, turn it reality? A T-Drive Mini could be made by using a transverse transmission next to the engine (in the middle instead of the end of the block), still making a very compact drivetrain and making AWD derived from this transverse transmission. For a Bimmer, they could put the same transmission in the rear (if they want a transaxle, but needing to do a GT-R-like setup for AWD) or mount in the same middle of the block a longitudinal transmission that sends the power to the rear wheel and also making AWD easy.

      In Bimmer, they could make its car more spacious due to the packaging benefits from transverse engines but without all the technical issues typical from FWD. Mini would also gain, because a transmission in the middle of the block would make easier to reduce torque steer. It'd be great for both brands because they'd both increase component sharing without dilluting the brands, as Mini is always FWD and BMW always RWD.
      What a FWD Bimmer would offer in the small premium market that an A1, MiTo, DS3 or even Mini don't offer in a more competent way?
        • 4 Years Ago
        "But they're the kind of competition that a small Bimmer would face. All of them are FWD."

        Have you any idea about the European market? A BMW B-segment buyer would not buy a Citroen. They probably wouldn't necessarily gun for a Mini either. Its arch rivals would be the Audi A1, Mercedes A-Class and Alfa MiTo.

        Andre - your whining about drivetrains is pointless. BMW simply isn't interested in what you, as an individual in North America, would buy. It's interested in exploiting a growing area of the European market (premium B-segment) and the buyers attracted to it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        But they're the kind of competition that a small Bimmer would face. All of them are FWD. What would a FWD Bimmer offer to me that a Mini or an A1 can't offer? The blue, white and black badge on the hood, the twin-kidney grille, the four round headlights and the little curve on the rear side window? Hey, I wouldn't buy a small Bimmer because of styling heritage, because it isn't the uniqueness of a Bimmer. If I want design, Citroën offers me the funkiest looks ever of the last times and Mini, the traditional lines, all of them core values of the brands.
        But none of them have the possibility of offer me in a small package what all people want and expect from BMW: driving pleasure in RWD form. It's the uniqueness of Bimmer, as it's the uniqueness of Subaru the boxer-powered AWD rides. If I want a sports car with a flat-6 hanging in the rear, I wouldn't ask Maranello, but Stuttgart. Why can't Munich offer me a small car with a different mechanical layout from the one of Ingolstadt?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I will withhold judgment until I see the car, but would be nice to have a RWD, light, fun car...or I can just buy an E30 and pretend its new!

      FWD isn't all bad, and keep in mind all car companies have to come up with new innovative ways to lower their emissions, this may just be it. They should just nix the X6, and maybe that would offset it more than producing an FWD car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If BMW were to introduce this car as some uber lightweight aerodynamic compact in the mold of recent concepts, then it might have a lot going for it. However, I won't hold my breath again for a lighter, more dynamic and minimal BMW again after the disappointment that is the 1 series.

      Seems like this will end up being a badge-engineered way to offer Mini dynamics with a body and interior that isn't so over-designed... Maybe this isn't a terrible thing after all, come to think.
      • 4 Years Ago
      when is the .5 and .25 series of bmw coming... Im loving what bmw is doing with their cars but something under the 1 series seems weird. BMW is a high class, high performance car, but having something small and cheap seems like they are creeping onto sell alot for cheap territory. But i guess thats the whole point of making money...so GJ BMW
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