The spies have recently caught the prototype for BMW ‘s future front-wheel drive offering with their lens ‘. While the car is heavily clad in typical BMW fashion there are a few things that are noticeable- the wheel base is short by modern BMW terms, the front and rear overhangs are small and the windshield is raked back for efficiency purposes. With future MINI offerings coming from the same underpinning UKL platform we can see the similarities.
While some may question BMW ‘s motive in bringing a front wheel-drive offering to market it really is two fold: 1) Most consumers think the 1 Series is front wheel drive already and that hasn ‘t hurt sales, 2) The current 1 Series is uncomfortable, smaller and with less cargo capacity than competitors in the segment so it gets hurt in reviews which does in turn hurt sales.
On the latter; having a 120d BMW Edition 5 door hatch in the parkplatz currently I can fully attest on how miserable the rear seat ride quality is. With the drive axel, fuel tank and suspension all crammed in a small space it leaves little room for something like a decently padded rear seat or a boot to fit anything bigger than a few bags of groceries in. The competition on the other hand (namely the MB A-Class, Audi A3 and VW Golf) are much more plush and roomy. The A-Class in particular has tons of room in the cabin and trunk- dare I say almost C-Class levels. We ‘ll have a more in depth review in the near future of the 120d.
While the decision to go FWD may not be popular amongst BMW diehards it is something that they do need to do if they do not want to be ousted out of an important German (European) segment even though it means little in the US.The MINI has been a huge success compared to the competition in terms of driving prowess even being front wheel drive so we foresee the BMW offering to not be all that different.
Image: World Car Fans