BMW \”0\” Series Based on Front Wheel Drive MINI?

That front wheel drive based “0 ” Series BMW we told you about last fall is getting more interesting. Last week we noted that during BMW Chairman Norbert Reithofe ‘s speech he made it clear that BMW and MINI were extending their brands into the small car segment. But what did that exactly mean? Was he talking about the shared platform between the MINI and a new small BMW or BMW ‘s new range of “megacity ” cars sub-braned as iSetta? Autocar had a chance to ask the man that very question.

Being careful to separate the new price-leading front-wheel-drive model from BMW ‘s upcoming city car – a totally different project as part of its Mega City Vehicle electric car initiative – Reithofer added, “For these new vehicles [the new BMW and Mini] we are developing a common architecture for both front and four-wheel drive. ” While exact details remain shrouded in secrecy, Autocar can confirm the new entry-level BMW has been conceived to run the same front-wheel-drive underpinnings as the next-generation Mini Cooper.

Autocar predicts this new BMW will be built along side the MINI in Oxford. However our sources at our sister site MotoringFile tell us this is impossible given the current cost of expanding the plant even further. Instead it ‘s likely that the new small BMW will be built alongside a small slice of the next generation MINI production at a current BMW plant in Germany. It ‘s worth noting that our sources tell us that all MINIs produced in Germany will be destined for the European market as a way to insulate the British currency issues BMW currently faces.

Regardless of where the car is built, a front wheel drive BMW will be a reality. According to Dr. Reithofe the premium small car segment is growing too fast to ignore. And with BMW already having a world-class small car platform to draw from, it ‘s obvious why the decision makes business sense. Look for the car to debut around the same time as the next generation MINI in 2013 and be sold predominantly in Europe. It will not be available in the US market.

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  • jason p

    LOVE THE IDEA OF A ZERO SERIES!

    soo cool. like coke zero. sounds all light weight and low cal.

  • Booo

    BMW should have just bought SAAB or Volvo if they wanted to sell FWD cars. Then repack the MINI while not needing to intro fDrive, what people drive when they can’t upsize to the huge 1 series.

    -M

  • JonPD

    FWD BMW doesn’t work for me, however if they break Isetta into being its own company (aka MINI) I have no issues with them having FWD. However a FWD 0 series really doesn’t inspire me at all. Then again I have to say I think a FWD BMW is less of a sacrilege than a ///M SUV.

  • Babak

    Excuse my lack of knowledge in the technical/mechanical aspect. Why can’t they do a RWD “0 Series”? I’m thinking it’s related to weight issues? Or space?

  • Please, no FWD. At least not with a BMW badge on the hood.

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  • KingR

    Get over the M SUV already!

  • Luis

    It doesn’t make sense! What does this car have so special to be better than a Mini?!… Ok, besides having the BMW badge… BMW is RWD! Period!… With this, it seems that BMW is only focusing to try to steal market of Audi! They are FWD! Not BMW!

  • dr

    This seems like a big departure for BMW. It would seem to me that they can sell all the small FWD cars they want under the MINI label. What is to be gained by BMW going to small cars? Doesn’t all the money go to the same place?

  • Bimmer1

    A FWD BMW. WTF, REALLY BMW!!! GET IT TOGETHER!

  • Shaman

    What would a Roundel be doing on the hood of an auto driven by the front wheels??? Who’s running BMW these days and when do they plan to finally invade our increasingly mixed-up planet? If the “0” Series can’t be offered with a RWD varient then why would I pony up for it? When I want a German-engineered FWD car I’ll head to Wolfsburg, Thank you!

    P.S. They probably won’t even offer it with a manual transmission.

  • Que

    BMW is about the ultimate driving experience, if they can offer that with the “0” series, fine, but BMW to me has always been RWD based. Keep it real and rear BMW.

  • lava

    If they are going to share platform parts, and the R60 Countryman has an option for FWD or AWD systems – then it hardly seems like a stretch for a BMW 0 series to use the same drivetrain and offer RWD or AWD. It would be nice to see a 2500-2700lb sedan that evokes the compact shape of the 2002. Why not this?

  • PJ

    Come on people. BMW making a FWD is really not so horrible. If anyone of you knew or understood business and the current economy you would realize that a business, including BMW, needs to do what it has to in order to survive. This includes breaking into another part of the auto market and taking stake in its share of it. Also, I”m sure that the new FWD BMW, though built on a mini platform, will have several options that you will not be able to get on a mini. Really, do you think that they dont know what they are doing.