Merging Models: Future Minis and the BMW 1-series

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of BMW's future small car strategy concerns the precise demarcation line between FWD and RWD. Although research has told the Bavarians that most 1-series customers don't even know that they own a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, engineering and marketing reckon that not all 1-series variants should simultaneously perform a potentially dangerous philosophical handbrake turn. It's still early in this long-term game plan, but there is a possibility that BMW will split its 1-series portfolio. In this still to be confirmed scenario, the coupe, the convertible, the M1 (or whatever it will be called) and a still tentative Z2 roadster would stay with rear-wheel drive, with four-cylinder engines (of 1.6- and 2.0 liters, with 136 to 218 hp).

The 1-series GT and CAT would be part of the FWD/AWD components set, as would the future three- and five-door hatchbacks. They - and their Mini cousins - are likely to introduce a new family of three-cylinder engines. The threes are, naturally, lighter and more compact than four-cylinders, and use about 10 percent less fuel. The gasoline version, dubbed N30, comes in displacements of 1.2 and 1.5 liters with power output of ranging from 70 to 184 hp. The diesel variant, labeled N37, at 1.5 liters is good for 110 to 125 hp.

Maybe at that point it would be a good idea to pull the 2-series badge out of the bag for the two-door vehicles...

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