Although BMW is best known for making sporty, rear-wheel-drive sedans, the brand will continue its expansion into new territory with myriad front-wheel-drive models to be revealed over the next few years under both BMW and Mini nameplates. A report from Auto Express claims that BMW will introduce 11 new models underpinned by the new UKL front-wheel-drive architecture.
This report comes from BMW board member for sales and marketing Ian Robertson, who says the first BMW model to use this platform will be based on the BMW Concept Active Tourer. We've already seen the car in concept guise, and now AE says the production model will debut at the 2014 Geneva auto show. The new 2014 Mini Cooper is also underpinned by this new platform, as will be upcoming variants like the 2015 Mini Cooper Convertible, the 2015 Mini Cooper Clubman, and the unnamed upcoming four-door Mini Cooper hatchback.
So, that takes care of five of the reported 11 models, but what about the rest? Well, according to our European correspondent Georg Kacher, we should see a redesigned BMW 1 Series within the next few years which will ride on the UKL platform. This could spawn a Gran Turismo hatchback variant like the larger 3 Series and 5 Series, which would be available with either front- or all-wheel-drive. This model would fit in below the Active Tourer-based vehicle, which is likely to receive a 1 Series designation as well. The next-generation of the BMW X1 compact crossover will also ride on the UKL architecture. Further down the pipeline, BMW may be working on an even smaller crossover to sit below the X1 which would rival the recently announced upcoming Audi Q1.
The AE report also predicts that the next Mini Countryman and Paceman models are included in this group of 11 vehicles, as is a possible Mini small roadster to compete with the Mazda MX-5. This compact Mini convertible would replace the current Mini Roadster and Coupe models, although unlike the Mazda it will also be front-wheel drive.
Keep an eye out over the next few years to see how this front-wheel-drive expansion plan plays out for the BMW and Mini brands.