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More Details On BMW's MINI-Based, Front-Wheel Drive Small Car

 
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2012 BMW minicar rendering

2012 BMW minicar rendering

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2012 BMW minicar rendering

2012 BMW minicar rendering

Enlarge Photo

The race is on for luxury carmakers to see who can be the first to dominate the "true premium" subcompact market in the U.S., and BMW looks like it's going to be a bit late to the game. A new report out today drops a few more details on the upcoming front-wheel drive, MINI-platform-sharing new vehicle to slot below the 1-Series that we first previewed for you last month.

Previous details had come from Norbert Reithofer, BMW's chairman, so the info was ostensibly sound, outlining the bare basics of the front-drive BMW. The latest updates come from an unnamed "BMW insider," however, so they may or may not pan out in the final product. Key to the new details are its intended audience: non-BMW buyers. According to the report, the company hopes to win new customers with the front-driven car, and believes that neither MINI nor 1-Series buyers will cross-shop it. Also new are details about the car's layout: a transverse engine and gearbox to make for a spacious cabin despite the small platform, with a forward driving position and a five-door, hatchback body style.

Details on exactly what the sub-1er will look like are nebulous at best, but according to the report, we can expect a platform to be shared with the next-gen MINI Cooper, with both front- and all-wheel drive on the table. Rear-drive is also still a possibility, since the all-wheel drive layout planned would allow for a rear-only driveshaft configuration as well. Short hood and overhangs will be par for the course, and the overall look will be somewhat distinguished from the rear-drive Bimmers to help maintain identity while also hooking in new buyers for the brand.

This new small BMW isn't to be confused with the Project i Mega City Vehicle, however. That's planned to be an electric car for urban use, while the new sub-1er is expected to be something more along the lines of the Audi A1 and the recently rumored to be U.S.-bound Mercedes-Benz B-Class.

MINI will also get a car on the new platform, though the BMW version is expected to come first--perhaps as early as 2013 in Europe. No firm plans for U.S. sale are yet in the mix, but with Audi and Mercedes both looking poised to strike, BMW will likely be close behind.

[Autocar]



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Comments (12)
  1. So this will either be the 0 series car or the .5 series car
     
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  2. I sure hope that they stick to RWD. There should never be a FWD BMW, EVER!
     
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  3. The 1 series should have looked like this from the start,
     
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  4. The car that should not be!! Joined in uselessness by the B Class and A1...
     
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  5. Nice profile, but the face looks all wrong for a GTI-fighter. The problem is that north americans get screwed in this equation. If it's RWD it will be too expensive and won't appear on our shores. If it's FWD it will be a pseudobimmer and you will get MINI performance at a BMW price. It's a lose-lose situation. wrt naming, this should be the 1er, with the nextgen 1er moving up to 2er.
     
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  6. TnTPhilly, your opinion about the A1 is why we are not getting it in the States and I think it will do well in Europe since they love small cars.
     
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  7. I'd stick with developing that small urban electric car because mini has it all and BMW like some said shouldn't have a small car. It's against their trademark. But I do like the renders. The renders look the best of all of the competitors in my opinion. But I think all of this extra small car stuff in nonsense because it's not like all places are cities and think about safety. Most people go on roads 50+ mph. Yeah, I don't remember there being a FWD BMW and even that pretty small 1 series from Europe was FR....
     
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  8. I agree w/ Brad - This should be the 1 Series...
    ...not the current 3 Series-lite.
     
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  9. I guess you guys are correct, there haven't been any FWD bimmers. I was thinking the 318ti was an FF, but it wasn't. This hatch is very visually appealing. I'd definitely prefer the looks of this vehicle over the A1 and any other hatch's out there right now.
     
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  10. Call it the new 2002 for nostalgic marketing purposes. Strip it down to manual or automatic, A/C, sunroof, as the only options w/leatherette or cloth interior. Keep the price under $20k
     
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  11. According to a BMW-funded survey, 80% of 1-series owners think it's front wheel drive. Perhaps BMW is hoping they won't notice when it actually is.
    However, with both the 1-series and the Mini available on the same lot, it seems impossible to me that cross-shopping would not occur.
    The most logical explanation for me is that this is actually the replacement for the 1-series, since that is too similar to the 3-series anyway. The timetables work: current 1-series supposed to be replaced in 2012.
     
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  12. I know if BMW boss will say NO for FWD vehicles in USA. if original BMW 1-Series 2 and 4 doors hatchback from previous generation is currently will complete for European market from original assembly will move to US assembly for only US market. plus four models for 1-Series two hatchbacks for 2 and 4 doors and one coupe and one convertible.
     
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