BMW's decision to make the upcoming 2-Series Active Tourer front-wheel drive has been polarizing to say the least, but like it or not, that is the direction the company will go in the near future – one rumor put the number as high as 23 front-wheel-drive models for Mini and BMW combined. The next-generation X1 won't send all its power to the front wheels, though, when it launches in early 2016. While it will use the same platform as the Active Tourer, rumors suggest all models will use all-wheel drive – at least at launch.

A "high-ranking," unnamed BMW manager confirmed to AutoWeek that the new model will switch to transversely-mounted three- and four-cylinder engines and the same six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions as the Active Tourer. The new, smaller platform will allow for more efficient packaging, and despite the smaller size, interior space will remain comparable. All the changes should make it significantly lighter too.

Don't start wailing just yet because BMW surely won't be entirely abandoning sporty models. AutoWeek claims that the Bavarians are working on a higher-output version of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with power closer to 300 horsepower, about a 72-hp boost. It's also rumored to offer a sporty version of the X1 that may be called the X2.

We have already spotted the X1 testing multiple times, so it's definitely on the way. In other words, we'll just have to learn to accept these new compact Bimmers.


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  • 39 Comments
      Jim R
      • 10 Months Ago
      Pretty soon there'll be nothing to distinguish BMW from any other loxury front-hooker. And that will make me sad.
      Avinash Machado
      • 10 Months Ago
      RIP Ultimate Driving Machine.
      Fazzster
      • 10 Months Ago
      Front wheel drive is entirely appropriate for this segment where space and efficiency trump high performance. If the 3 series went front wheel drive, then that would be blasphemy.
        Max Authority
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Fazzster
        The problem is, the 3/4 series is getting more and more expensive, so it'll just won't be possible to buy a sub 40k-EUR BMW RWD coupe/hatchback like it used to be with 1 series (also the 220i costs ~35k EUR here in Austria).
      Hek!
      • 10 Months Ago
      Now this is a company that's sold its soul for money... =(
        ChaosphereIX
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Hek!
        yep, I don't even like BMW [more of an Audi fan], but they always had this "driving enthusiast comes first" mantra. That is long dead and gone now... Thank you China.
          robertlyt
          • 10 Months Ago
          @ChaosphereIX
          Rooks are everything. - China
        The Emperor
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Hek!
        Oh come on, Im a fan of rwd, but I would never buy x1 or 2 series AT, even if they were rwd, probably no enthusiast would. So for 99.9% of the potential buyers it won't make a difference, but the price drop will. As long as they keep their driver oriented cars rwd, it's fine. I'm just somewhat worried about the next 1-series.
          ChaosphereIX
          • 10 Months Ago
          @The Emperor
          yep, and there is the problem. We buy something else. We are few, therefore that something else is increasingly becoming smaller in selection and more compromised by the year. I am not upset these are going FWD, that makes sense in this segment. I am lamenting the fact that a) BMW is making them and marketing them as sporty b) this segment exists in the first place
          Hek!
          • 10 Months Ago
          @The Emperor
          The company that BMW was in the past wouldn't have made a 2AT or X1 in the first place.
      flammablewater
      • 10 Months Ago
      This makes me think even less of BMW drivers - usually stereotyped as never using a turning signal, taking up a parking space and a half, and generally being an on-road ass - but at least they knew to buy sporty RWD sedans. With BMWs going FWD, their drivers will be no more special than a regular ass driving a Honda.
        BG
        • 10 Months Ago
        @flammablewater
        The ones you described did not know about buying a sporty RWD sedan - their concern was the trendy and presumably status-conferring nameplate. Many of the BMW drivers I have met have no idea what FWD or RWD means to the driving experience (that's unnecessary technical mumbo-jumbo).
        lennyj50
        • 10 Months Ago
        @flammablewater
        I,ve seen drivers of mercedes, lexus, acura, gmc, ford, etc. doing the same thing you have accused bmw drivers of doing; it's not just the bmw drivers nitwit
        jessesrq
        • 10 Months Ago
        @flammablewater
        Never once have I thought that my BMW is what makes me more special than regular asses.
          ravenosa
          • 10 Months Ago
          @jessesrq
          "Special" isn't exactly the word people would use. LOL. The term "douchey" immediately comes to mind, Jesse...
        Frisky_Dingo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @flammablewater
        Asshats are asshats and they come in all makes and models. For the record, I never double-park my 335i. I always signal. And I've almost been wiped out by the soccer mom talking on her phone in her GMC Denali too many times too count. And I won't even touch how many times diesel truck owner's have tried to bait me into racing.
        Frisky_Dingo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @flammablewater
        Asshats are asshats and they come in all makes and models.
      ChaosphereIX
      • 10 Months Ago
      yep another box on wheels, deserves FWD. These types of vehicles are all the rage. I do not know why. Any they are killing the entire industry. Slowly, all manufacturers will be making 40 different sizes and designs of the same damn FWD jellybean-shaped snore-mobile. Will keep buying old exciting cars that were built with passion, not out of pure marketing agendas. Sad sad sad...
      mikeybyte1
      • 10 Months Ago
      So then what is the difference between the new upcoming X1 and the 2 Series Active Tourer? Same platform. Same engines. Even the same AWD system. Sure you can get the 2 in just FWD. But otherwise aren't they pretty much the same? I find it bizarre how BMW is offering so many different products that are practically the same.
      Stridenttube
      • 10 Months Ago
      Disgusting! The current x1 is based on the e90 and is a world class handling crossover. I hope they make the current x1 an x2 and leave this mess for the Europeans. RWD is to BMW is what secret bank accounts are to Switzerland. BMW needs to realize what they stand for and that making world class drivers cars are what appeals people to the brand. BMW cant do plain luxury cars and sell, because Benz does luxury better.
        Will
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Stridenttube
        BMW marketing research has shown that the vast majority of their customers worldwide do not know whether their car is FWD or RWD. That's the big reason behind this push. They do not think it will be an issue. Most people won't know, and those that do will opt for a RWD model.
          jessesrq
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Will
          BMW stated that in a survey 80% of 1-series drivers thought their cars were FWD, not the entire lineup. (It is still a sad statistic, but there is hope that FWD entry level cars do not affect the rest of the lineup.)
          ChaosphereIX
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Will
          that is true. These types of vehicles, FWD-bias makes sense for sure. Not for a sports vehicle, but for these glorified baby shuttles for the suburban housewife, FWD makes perfect sense.
      lazybeans
      • 10 Months Ago
      No big deal. MOst people who buy BMWs don't care which wheel is spinning the car forward.
      GFB
      • 10 Months Ago
      The real problem is not that BMW is diluting the brand with the FWD trend. It is that they will be sharing platforms with their relatively downmarket MINI brand. Fortunately, it's not a huge problem because MINI has cachet of its own but there might be some cannibalization under the umbrella. BMW has been successful filling and pioneering every possible niche, especially in the larger sizes. As long as they keep producing the kind of cars that I like (RWD, small, light & fun) with a manual transmission option, I and a lot of car enthusiasts will stay in the fold.
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