Autocar is reporting that BMW execs have signed off what was once unthinkable, that is the production of a new front-wheel drive model. They claim their source is none other than BMW Chairman Norbert Reithofe. The newest entry-level BMW, likely to be badged as the ‘0 Series’, will piggy-back off the next gen MINI platform and will be priced below the 1 Series.
This latest news has emerged from the Geneva Motor Show, and follows speculation from December last year. “We will be extending the BMW and Mini brands into the small car segment with new models and variants,” Reithofe told Autocar, acknowledging demand for premium vehicles in the compact segment is on the rise.
BMW intend to counter the new Audi A1, as well as the Smart Forfour currently under development. The next MINI is scheduled for release in 2014, however it is likely that the ‘0 Series’ could be on European roads as early as 2013.
The other interesting tidbit from the Autocar article, is in reference to future 1 Series production. While the quote was not acknowledged to Reithofe, Autocar say a Munich insider told them, “We are looking at alternatives. With the new platform set to support four-wheel drive, it wouldn’t be that hard to use the transmission tunnel for a rear-wheel-drive application.”