The New BMW: A MINI with a Spit Shine?

Just throw a BMW logo on it and call it good?

Just throw a BMW logo on it and call it good?

There are two kinds of people who buy BMWs:

  1. People who appreciate the dynamics of a true rear-wheel-drive performance machine.
  2. People who like the BMW logo.

As BMW embarks on a new era of vehicle production, it hopes it can please both types of people without alienating the first. Type 2 people really don’t care which wheels are propelling the car forward, while Type 1 people believe anything that’s front-wheel drive is undeserving of the BMW logo. After all, BMW owns MINI, so it can scratch that FWD itch, right?

For a while, BMW carefully walked the line while admitting some vague future plans for a FWD car, but now it seems the German automaker will pull out all the stops and bring at least 6 cars to market that are powered by the same wheels that steer.

The source of this news is AutoExpress, which is based in the U.K. and typically reports on happenings in the European markets. However, we all know that smaller, FWD cars sell very well here in the States, and it’s incredibly likely that at least a few of the new models will end up at dealerships on our shores.

With a new MINI platform, called UKL1, being rolled out now, it’s relatively easy to rebrand cars as BMWs and launch them as new models.

AutoExpress says:

The first BMW model underpinned by UKL1 is the recently-released 2 Series Active Tourer compact MPV. This is due to be followed by a seven-seat version within the next year. BMW is then looking to expand its compact SUV and crossover offerings, with a new X1 and niche-busting X2 coupe crossover which will also be available with xDrive four-wheel-drive.

Later, in 2017, a small BMW Z2 roadster is planned, along with a replacement for the current 1 Series hatch.

The X1 and the 2 Series are already sold here in either RWD or AWD trim, but with the new update we could see less-expensive FWD versions soon.

If you’re the Type 2 kind of BMW person, buy new or used to your heart’s content. If you’re a Type 1 BMW person, don’t buy a BMW and just assume that it’s RWD, because those days are about to end.

How do you prefer your BMW: FWD or RWD?

-tgriffith

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