Although the first two generations of BMW's
revival of the Mini brand have been sales sensations and are nothing if not fun to drive, the Bavarian company's true engineering merit has always been with rear-wheel drive vehicles. So, it isn't at all surprising that the huge sporting automaker from Germany is looking to co-develop its next front-wheel drive Mini platform with Fiat
. Though it could be argued that the Fiat 500
is a direct shot across the bow of the retro-style Mini Cooper
, the money savings from platform sharing was apparently just too much to resist for the two automakers.
Fiat certainly has a long history of producing fine small cars, and its current Punto and Panda-based 500 have received rather good reviews from the European motoring press. What's more, BMW has always used engines developed in cooperation with other manufacturers for the Mini. Still, it seems odd that the two marque's would go at each other with vehicles built off the same underpinnings. We'll just need to wait and see how well the two vehicles are differentiated from one another.