We're not opposed to either front-wheel drive or hybrid drivetrains as a strict rule, but as lovers of all things fast, fun, and flickable, those two powertrain features tend to work against us. They can be overcome, but not easily.
Nevertheless, BMW announced this week a partnership with Peugeot-Citroen for the design and construction of hybrid-electric powertrains. The first applications in BMW vehicles will come in 2014.
So what will these hybrid/front-driven BMWs look like? It will be positioned below the 1-Series, probably as a hatchback, and will share a platform with the next-gen MINI Cooper.
As for what kind of power and economy to expect from the car? That's anyone's guess, though the EU legislation the car will be built for won't allow much in the way of power unless BMW figures out how to get more go out of less juice. Emissions and fuel economy restrictions are more likely to be the primary target of the BMW front-drive hybrid, with "Joy of Driving" and "Ultimate Driving Machine" status folded up in the subcompact back seat.
For a more detailed look at the green technology that will underpin the car, check out John Voelcker's article at GreenCarReports.