• Jan 7th 2011 at 4:29PM
  • 38
When BMW began making noise about bringing front-wheel drive to the table, purists, enthusiasts and fans of the brand immediately busted out the pitchforks and torches. Visions of front-wheel drive 3 Series and 1 Series models were almost enough to induce frenzy (not that a huge number of owners would know the difference...), but if the latest word from BMW Blog is to be believed, the company's front-wheel drive efforts will be contained to a handful of all-new models.

The news comes courtesy of a BMW insider posting on German Car Forum. Supposedly, the main impetus behind delving into a FWD platform isn't to increase the company's average fuel economy as some have guessed. Instead, BMW is looking to make the Mini brand more profitable by sharing platforms with other models under the Roundel.

Those include a new compact BMW roughly the size of a Cooper, as well as an MPV that the insider calls a Compact Gran Sport Tourer. Additionally, there may be room for a crossover-sized front-wheel drive beast as well. Interestingly enough, the report says that the new BMW compact will have proportions similar to those of the Honda CR-Z.

At this point, it's difficult to say whether or not the source from German Car Forum has their facts straight or not, but so far, this is the most detailed glimpse we've gotten into what BMW is up to with its FWD program.

[Source: German Car Forum via BMW Blog]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is about time BMW joins the rest of their competitors (Mercedes, Audi and Volvo) in offering FWD on some models. For a small car where space is at a premium, FWD makes sense as it eliminates the drive shaft hump in the floor and a transverse engine allows the cabin to be longer for a given vehicle length.
      • 4 Years Ago
      NOOOOOOO!!!! Burn them all with fire!
      • 4 Years Ago
      FWD FTL
        • 4 Years Ago
        BMW - The ultimate driving machine...err wait.
        I guess there's a reason they haven't used that slogan so much recently. They have been preparing everyone for this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      FWD can be useful for winter environments for people who dont want the cost/weight/complexity of an AWD. Im sure the majority of buyers wont notice/care. They are just looking for a way to squeeze more money out of there mini R&D. This doesn't mean they are slaughtering your dear 3/5/7 series. They will probably make a new, affordable small BMW, which will ride on a mini platform. Im also sure there will be AWD variants of the same FWD cars.

      In short, relax, they arent touching the cars you really care about.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Front wheel drive as a superior winter vehicle is not without it's issues. Yes FWD with weight over the drive wheels is effective in snow. However, FWD on slippery surfaces is not as desireable as RWD. This is because the friction of pavement to tire surface can be exceeded by resistance of engine backpressure when lifting your foot from the accelerator on "black ice" conditions. This causes loss of steering control. Result- looping into the nearest ditch. I am aware that this perception will be disputed, as the sensation of control is always good in FWD. That is....however, a false input. Your chances of regaining control of a RWD vehicle is better that a FRD on slippery pavement. Let the arguments begin...............
        • 4 Years Ago

        The reason most cars are FWD has nothing to do with the safety, it has to do with being cheap and economical.
        • 4 Years Ago
        FWD is the better solution for most drivers in most situations. Most drivers will never need to control their rear sliding away. There's a very good reason why most cars are FWD.

        As recent survey found out, 80% of BMW 1 drivers think their car is FWD.


        Given that they're driven mostly by people who are attracted by the brand and marketing rather than enthus, most of BMW drivers have no idea and, frankly, couldn't care less.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're right, cowboy.

        It's the same reason a tire place will put 2 new tires on the rear as a safety precaution, even if it's the front tires you're replacing. Having more grip/control in the rear is more beneficial in situations where you are sliding out of control.

      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I for one am interested in what they'll make of this. Hopefully something cool and not over priced.
      • 4 Years Ago
      FWD is boring.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sad day for BMW :( FWD FTL
      • 4 Years Ago
      WTF BMW
      I will not buy a FWD car if anyone care
      From a guy had many problem with the damn FWD.

      • 4 Years Ago
      FWD/MPV BMW. WTF?.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree that putting FWD models under the Roundel is a mistake. Don't dilute your brand image BMW! Don't do it! On the other hand, no one has mentioned that, even though they're FWD, Mini vehicles handle quite well (thank you BMW engineering). So if they're going to share platforms, from a dynamic handling standpoint I guess it could be a lot worse. But IMHO they shouldn't do it. Perhaps open up a third-channel or just expand the Mini brand, but don't sell a FWD vehicle with a BMW badge on it because as good as their engineers are, a FWD vehicle will never come close to handling like one with RWD.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh god, please no.

      I understand the economics of it and how it makes sense that way, but is nothing sacred anymore?!
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