Car Magazine is reporting that BMW will leverage the new MINI platform (itself based on the modular 1 Series platform) for a smaller BMW. The big news for BMW enthusiasts is that Car is reporting this new car will be front wheel drive – a first for BMW and something that goes against the core brand values up until now. The Untere Kompaktklasse (German for lower compact class) will slot between the MINI and the 1 Series and will be marketed with efficiency as it ‘s main attribute. Likely featuring BMW ‘s new range of 3 and 4 cylinder engines, the 0 Series will help the BMW Group meet new CO2 and MPG requirements both in the US and Europe. While BMW will be counting on MINI to help as well, the thought is that some customers would prefer a small premium product from the BMW brand. For these people the 0 Series will offer all the technology found in other small BMWs in a smaller more efficient package. According to sources driving dynamics will more closely mirror what we see in the current MINI range.

According to Car, this smaller BMW will form the basis of 2 and 4 door hatchback models as well as a two door roadster. We ‘d also assume that BMW would be using this model as the basis of at least one electric or hybrid model as part of its Project i.

What does this mean for the MINI? A lot really. First off this is the fruits of BMW ‘s decision to go it alone with future MINI development (at least that we know of at this time). BMW decided earlier this year to take advantage of economies of scale with the next MINI ‘s development by sharing components with future BMW products. This should give MINI more technology and a higher degree of development time and cost for the new model.

Look for the 0 Series to debut generally around the time the 3rd generation

The first photo is courtesy of Jalopnik. The Car Magazine story that much of this information comes from isn ‘t yet online. However you can buy the magazine at book stores now.