New Mini-Based Subcompacts
The first-ever front-wheel-drive bmws will appear in 2013 as siblings to the next-generation Mini. The two- and four-door hatchbacks, interpreted here by our spy illustrator, will be longer and taller than the Mini; a roadster is possible as well. A range of powerplants include a hybrid, an EV, and three- and four-cylinder turbocharged, direct-injection engines of up to 1.4 liters and about 170 hp. A six-speed manual and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic are planned; all-wheel drive will be optional.
What's Less Than 1? The brand's faithful may be horrified by the thought of a front-wheel-drive BMW, but the tough question internally has to be what to call it, because BMW has backed itself into a corner, name-wise.
What: New range of ultraefficient green machines.
When: Early 2014
The electric Mini E, out since last year, and the electric 1-series (ActiveE), announced at January's Detroit auto show, are both field trials for BMW's Project i, which is the company's major green strategy. Think of it as BMW's Smart. The first vehicle to arrive is a battery-powered, four-seat, so-called Megacity Vehicle. It also may be offered as a hybrid with a three-cylinder gasoline or diesel engine. The family will grow with the addition of a two-seat sports car (with four-cylinder power), a scooter (like the old C1), and two additional variants. BMW hopes for annual sales of 30,000 to 35,000.
Brand Strategy: BMW is betting the bank on EVs, even as it continues to create bloated, thirsty vehicles such as the X6 M.
It's A Go! Radical Frankfurt show car will become BMW's eco-friendly sports car.
When it debuted at last fall's Frankfurt auto show, BMW's Vision EfficientDynamics futuristic sports car was only a concept. But no doubt spurred by the announcements that Audi will offer its E-tron electric sports car for sale and that Mercedes-Benz will bring to market an electric version of its SLS AMG, BMW has little choice but to proceed with its eco-friendly super sports car, which could take the designation Z10 and should arrive in 2014. If the street version even gets close to the specs of the concept, it will be mighty impressive: 63 mpg, 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds, and a top speed of 155 mph. The show car was a plug-in hybrid with a three-cylinder turbo-diesel engine supplemented by two electric motors, but a U.S.-market car would likely get a four-cylinder gasoline powerplant. BMW claims that the concept can travel up to 31 miles on battery power alone. Total system output is 351 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. The two-plus-two's wildly shaped body incorporates gull-wing doors and has a claimed Cd of 0.22.
Next X3, New X1
At this fall's Paris auto show, we'll see the second generation of BMW's X3. The current car was the first German entry in the compact SUV arena, but the passing of time has allowed newer competitors to surpass it. The next edition loads on more luxury options and offers buyers a choice of 245-hp or 300-hp sixes (but no diesel). An ActiveHybrid model is due in 2012. The new X3 will be built in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and will be joined by the even smaller, German-built X1 in the spring of 2011.