BMW\’s Efficient Future & Front Wheel Drive Strategy

The always ambitious Scott26 has been at it again at Germancarforum.com where he regularly posts insight into BMW ‘s future products plans. In his latest update he talks about the future of BMW models and how the new front wheel drive models will support the brand and the ever growing urban premium market.

Because his post is so well articulated and expansive we ‘ve decided to bring you it in it ‘s entirety. You can find the original here. While we believe this information is firmly based in reality (or reality at a point in time) we would urge you to still file it under rumor for the time being.

As you know BMW have announced that between now and 2015 they will bring 20 new models to the market covering a vast range of segments. With the future growth of the small compact city , Premium Compact and Premium Entry segments in the minds of the product planners. BMW will unleash a greater majority of models based on this model matrix to increase it ‘s volumes in the Premium segment.

Beginning in 2011 we will see the first results of this strategy within the new BMW 1er Sporthatch and BMW 3er Sedan which will be unveiled just before the end of 2011. Another new exciting additions for the M-Division include the exciting new 1 series M Coupe and the sixth generation BMW M5.

The Premium market will welcome a new luxury set of BMW 6er Coupe and Convertible. Whilst the first evidence of the Gran coupe will be seen on the streets of Munich.

The new BMW X3 begins it ‘s first year on the market with additional engines in europe along with a new four cylinder petrol turbo which will be announced later in the year. The BMW X1 continues it ‘s success with over 100,000 units sold and top place in the market with an additional M-Sport packet.

The BMW X6 which recently celebrated it ‘s three years launch in December 2007 will see a slight refresh life cycle improvement.

Although this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In 2011 you will get to hear more regarding BMW ‘s innovative think-tank on sustainable future mobility as BMW begin preparing the world for it ‘s innovative new Sub brand. New innovations Aswell as exciting new Concepts scheduled for Detroit , Geneva , Shanghai and Frankfurt. all to show BMW ‘s leadership of the premium segment.

In Part one we focused on the MINI Brand, and the new BMW sub brand “BMW “i “

IN Part Two it will concentrate on the BMW Premium Compact and Premium Entry segment . BMW ‘s FWD compact series, The BMW 1er and BMW 3er, BMW X1 and BMW X3 and X4.

In Part Three we will touch on the Core BMW Premium luxury models – BMW 5er , 6er and 7er. BMW X5 and X6.

In Part Four we will look at the other BMW sub brands – BMW “M ” and BMW “Z ” and finally Rolls-Royce Motor cars.

Part Two.
B.rave N.ew W.orld.
It ‘s What?

When Norbert Reithofer. BMW ‘s chairman of the Board announced that 80% of BMW owners thought that their BMW 1er was front wheel drive , many were astounded at that statement when it was mentioned regarding BMW ‘s shock-announcement of it ‘s intentions into Front wheel drive. As many , the world over believe that the concept of Front Wheel drive in a BMW is not only sacreligious and blasphemy but something that BMW had fought to distinguish their cars from their competitors.

Till the latest winter photographs and videos of people across the world trying to get mobile by either equipping their front wheels with snowchains or trying to clear a path for the front wheels, getting nowhere sometime to hilarious and expected consequences. Norbert Reithofer was therefore justified in his statement.

Looking at BMW Differently…

BMW are not just going Front Wheel Drive to further eclipse their emissions targets. But to provide a profitable strategy by developing a new platform structure , modular in form to accomodate both MINI and BMW.

First of all contrary to media reports and enthusiasts of the BMW brand , Front Wheel Drive is part of a strategy to help the next generation MINI and it ‘s future variants to become more profitable and more cost effective for BMW to produce.

Initial strategies in the beginning had lead to talks with PSA , Fiat and of course Daimler where the beginnings of a proposed MINI and Smart sharing programme disintegrated when BMW decided to go it alone.

No Reasons to Panic

When I say Front wheel Drive BMW the panic sets in and goes against BMW ‘s core marketing message: Image, Dynamics and Rear Wheel Drive. Some journalists have pointed out that the new 1er is Front Wheel Drive and so is the 3er and so will this eventually and so on. The new BMW 1er which will be seen in a few months time remains Rear Wheel Drive, The new BMW 3er which will debut in November also remains Rear Wheel Drive.

What the Front Wheel Drive BMW consist of however is a range of small concepts designed to appeal to a growing demographic in the demand for more compact premium concepts.

A New World of Difference: The Concepts.

  • BMW Compact
  • BMW Compactive Sport Gran Tourer
  • BMW F.amily A.ctivity S.ports T.ourer

First of all will see the new BMW Compact. BMW ‘s interpretation of a Front Wheel Drive city car or a MINI. You will have typical BMW design elements but reinterpreted to give a new impression of a totally different idea of a BMW. In order for the concept to appeal it has to be eye-catching and stand out amongst it ‘s competitors.

A Sexy Kind of Blasphemy.

The overall shape of the car differs completely from the typical MINI or conventional 3dr hatch format , the closest intention on the market today is possibly the Honda CR-Z but not directly. In order to really sell home the concept. BMW wants the car to really strike out not just from the MINI but also it ‘s competition.

The designers have gone for an edgier three-dimensional appearance in it ‘s explanation it forgoes the use of lines to enhance wheelarches and now becomes more Three-Dimension as it is now stamped so you can see the widening of the rear quarter.

One idea intended to signify the new direction for BMW is expanded design cues talked about previously such as an enclosed normal glasshouse that is pushed inwards allowing the metal around the rear to enclose the glasshouse allowing a line that curves around the rear window forming the typical BMW kink impression in metal instead of the glass that swipes strikingly through the doors to the front wing.

The A-Pillars follow the direction shown with the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept and continue down into the front wing leaving a typical BMW wheel at each corner look , triangular shaped lights sit upon each corner of the rear. The roof is towards the rear a typical BMW sloping roof.

With the typical BMW double round headlights stepped with one slightly below the other another idea is the inclusion of indicator signals directly underneath the angel eyes. The front of the car gets a smaller twin kidney grille again more three-dimensional as the front of the car allows the grille to be pushed further back.

The stand-out stylish design has been chosen to really signify the new direction , a regular typical hatch would not be a major selling point to deliver the concept.

The BMW Compactive Gran Sport Tourer

Fullfills the need for a segment BMW have not yet targeted mainly the multi-purpose vehicle segment which is expected to see sales rises from 45% per year. BMW plan a two prong attack but will not offer a typical MPV concept in which some look like Vans with additional windows.

What BMW intend to offer is a raised Five Dr hatch-Tourer concept with a raised driving position , stretched wheelbase with room for five made possible by positioning the engine transversely and removing the transmission tunnel. It will not be a Five Dr variant of the compact. It will inherit a very unique design.

The BMW Family Activity Sport Tourer is seen as a more Sporty orientated synergy of a Touring MPV and an X model. Again it will be uniquely designed, look sporty. Like the Mega City Vehicle, the car will feature rear-hinged doors for access to the cabin The concept has proved successful in presentations that BMW have commenced work on a 3er F.A.S.T. But will be Rear Wheel Drive.

Can the BMW Compact and MINI co-exist ?

The key to this is a brand new compact platform shared with the MINI that if the first outcome is successful then BMW might consider a further range of models to support it ‘s new segment.

This new Platform which has been engineered to support the MINI and BMW 1001 Compact will be used within each Brands variants. MINI of course will be the first to expand and after an establishment period has indicated that BMW ‘s concept was a success then BMW ‘s design teams have on the table a range of additional concepts for the expansion. Another key to the cost effectiveness of the car is that engines will also be shared as well manual,automatic and electric drivetrains. Engines will also be shared ranging from three and Four cylinders in both petrol and diesel format.

In distinguishing both cars visually another key factor for BMW is the driving characteristics and how the engineers will go to lengths to make sure that both MINI and the BMW Compact offer an individual driving experience that distinguishes both cars.

The MINI of course will retain it ‘s typical MINI Go-Kart trademark handling whilst BMW will be looking for a more dynamic approach , both levels of dynamics for both cars are attainable.

Why the need for a Premium Front wheel drive Concept from BMW?

The recent recession taught us that customers are willing to downsize to other segments if there vehicles offer the same luxuries and features as traditional luxury concepts. The prime example being MINI where in some markets for MINI sales were actually rising it was only to further examination that a higher majority of these cars were being built with nearly every option available maximising profits for MINI and showing that customers were willing to move to more efficient vehicles but with the same level of comforts and luxuries.

The online enthusiast board reaction has been to overwhelm the negatives of the BMW philosophy but some overlook one very important ideal – BMW already do Front Wheel Drive and do it well, a car that has seen off new impressive competition such as the Fiat 500 and Audi A1 when it comes to make a Front Wheel drive car that handles, has a great image and offers the customer a perfect choice of flexibility. It is called the MINI.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • lava

    just editing comment: your title should read “Drive”

    “…Front Wheel Dive Strategy”

    and you should see if you can get the paragraph breaks into the quoted article, makes it easier to read.

  • hardingsan
    The MINI of course will retain it’s typical MINI Go-Kart trademark handling whilst BMW will be looking for a more dynamic approach , both levels of dynamics for both cars are attainable.

    i can understand MINI and BMW fwd cars co-existing from a styling, pricing, and perception standpoint, but i can’t wrap my head around them speaking to different values as far as driving experience. what distinguishes “go-kart” handling for “dynamic” handling?

  • bmwfan

    Please BMW, don’t leave rear wheel drive, don’t break your tradition!

  • Herr26

    The Front Wheel Drive family of UKL concepts are the only BMW’s that will be offered with FWD. In the case of the F.A.S.T. that will be offered with AWD.

    Once you see what BMW intends to bring to the market, might actually bring encouraging debate because they look fantastic and offers the same level of visual excitement as the MINI family. I would definitely consider a Compact because it is original in it’s appearance and not styled as a typical conventional hatch as you would expect one to be it oozes pure BMW design individuality.