• Feb 3, 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.

Of course, not all of these vehicles will wear BMW badges – after all, the company's Mini brand only uses front-wheel drive. Inside Line reports that the first BMW-branded car sending power to the front will be the upcoming 1 Series GT, based off the next-generation 1 Series which could also use front-wheel drive. The next-generation X1 and a future subcompact car could also receive a front-wheel drive layout.

[Source: Inside Line]


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  • 64 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I guess if its all about weight, to maintain the 50/50 F/R weight distribution BMW can throw a dead elk (or hooker, the are cleaning up the streets of Amsterdam, yes??) or two in the trunk prior to delivery.

      Weight, who cares. Efficiency? When did that become a Teutonic concern? Output. HP. Being faster, better looking, and more masculine, than the other Deutchbrands. I won't even recognize American cars any longer for being "quality". They aren't.

      BMW NA is behind this offense. Americans are too car ignorant to understand you drive RWD for a reason. You drive FWD, because, mainly, your a woman and need to be able to control the car easier. FWD has it's place. And it wears a skirt to work.

      As long as BMW continues a strong line of innovative RWD cars I don't care much what else they produce to keep the brand alive and growing. I remember when the focus was taken from the 3-series in the 90's and everyone thought that was a mistake. The 5,6,7 lines keep the M Sport Division alive and growing, and RACING. Without expansion the brand will not keep the resources to keep racing.

      For BMW and Bimmerphiles, thats what counts.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why not revive the Triumph or Wolsey brand and use it for the FWD models?
      • 3 Years Ago
      How about creating models that actually last problem free past 4 years? BMW's are gorgeous cars, but I myself would never purchase one due to it's super poor reliability. Nice to look at though. I'll stick with Infiniti, if not, then Porsche.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Aw hell no, BMW.... Don't do it!
      • 3 Years Ago
      BMW is going after the mainstream bread and butter of the industry. Say what you want, but FWD mainstream sedans are popular and PROFITABLE. BMW just wants their piece of the pie.

      However, they have contradicted themselves. Remember the picture of the rabbit and why they would never build FWD vehicles???
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Because they are tired of getting skunked in sales by FWD cars like Acura. Most customers don't care or even know the difference in performance or maintenance between FWD and RWD but at the dealer. While roaming the showrooms, these customers can see the trickled down benefits of FWD such as lower cost, and higher mpgs due to lighter weight. There is typically a 200-300 pound hit by going to rear wheel drive. I know that this seems very odd to say on a car enthusiats forum, but many customers care much more about leisurely getting to the soccer field or grocery store safely than they care about track performane. Therefore, these customers often prefer FWD because it is easier to keep controlled in low traction conditions like rain or snow.

        I'll go agianst my insticts and make another odd statement. Ultimately, it could be argued that FWD may give optimal performance in some applications. This may be the case particularly in a car with low power and low weight where having traction in the rear is not so crucial. I would say that the best low power low weight arrangement is mid engine, like a Lotus, but given a front mounted engine with low power, the advantages of FWD (particularly weight), may outweigh the disadvantages. The relatively low powered Mini, for instance, has proven to be a very formidable little track weapon.
      • 3 Years Ago
      As much as I think this is wrong, I can think of one GREAT thing about this -- it will be way easier to tell who the Bimmer poseurs are vs. the real enthusiasts.

      Currently, to make this determination, you have to look inside to see if it has an automatic transmission. In the future, you will see that the poseurs buy the FWD cars because they don't really care about driving dynamics, only the Roundel on the hood. The FWD versions will be cheaper and get better fuel mileage than their RWD counterparts, so the poseurs will have no reason to buy the RWD models.

      -E46 M3 6-speed owner
      • 3 Years Ago
      This article is from the current issue of CAR magazine. After reading the article I can understand BMW's thinking. They need more cars that get higher mpg AND low Co2. If we want futures M3s and M5s, then BMW needs smaller FWD cars. The cars will be badged 1 series, remember the poll BMW conducted about the 1 series? The one where most of the owners did not know nor care that the car was RWD. This is why they did the poll. We as enthusiasts have to realize most people BMWs because of the badge, not the lap times.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bad move.

      Buy another brand if you want to do more FWD than Mini currently does.

      Diluting the core brand doesn't seem wise.

      How are they going to justify selling 13 new FWD vehicles, without thinning their RWD heard?

      So much for the Ultimate Driving Machine. I was hoping that BMW would go RETRO, and go back to what made them great, instead of further abandoning their core values to pursue sheeple customers.

      I wonder what the old guard guys think about this... the guys who just a decade or two ago would have NEVER considered pressurizing a pure high-revving, high output M/// engined car, or abandoning 50/50 balanced RWD chassis layouts.
        • 3 Years Ago
        BMW has a FWD brand - MINI

        If the need bigger FWD cars (and they don't), launch a new brand.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love it when reporters get information wrong. Do your homework before you report.

      "after all, the company's Mini brand only uses front-wheel drive. "

      From YOUR OWN SITE:

      "Every Countryman gets a six-speed transmission in either manual or automatic form, and the Countryman is also the first Mini to be offered with all-wheel drive. The system, dubbed ALL4, uses an electromagnetically controlled center differential to distribute up to 100 percent of the drive torque to whichever axle has more grip."

      http://www.autoblog.com/2010/05/18/mini-unleashes-big-bag-of-countryman-prototype-photos-model-det/
      • 3 Years Ago
      *cries*
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think you're way off. Mini alone, with a couple new models, would make up the majority of 13 vehicles (in fact there are currently 11 mini models that are front wheel drive- hardtop, hardtop S, clubman, clubman S, etc). Who cares if they introduce a few 1 Series front wheen drives to appeal to that crowd?

      There's no way they'd rid the 3 Series and above of rear wheel drive. They may even come out with a 2 Series with front wheel drives (and most likely all wheel drives for the 1 and 2 series).

      Wait until you see details before crying about doom and gloom.

      The reality is if BMW and ANY OTHER CAR MAKER wants to compete and survive in a global market (which they ALL have to do now) they can't be a niche manufacturer. NONE of them can be, which is why Porsche, Lambo, Ferrari and every other high-end maker is expanding their offering. That's reality. They are a BUSINESS.
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