Report: BMW and Mini to Have as Many as 20 New Front-Drive Models

By Jacob Brown | December 05, 2013
It was once thought of as heresy that BMW would be entering the market with a front-wheel-drive vehicle. Come on, BMW has always been a company focused on developing "Ultimate Driving Machines," right? Rear-wheel drive and 50:50 weight distribution would always be the BMW way. But then Mini happened. And BMW figured out that many of its owners couldn't even tell which wheels were driving its vehicles. And BMW then needed to figure out how to make Mini more profitable and BMW's small 1 Series lineup more space-efficient. So the UKL architecture--short for Unterklasse, or sub-class--was born. Now that it's around, BMW marketing chief board member Ian Robertson has said that 11 models have been green-lighted for production. More than that, a total of 20 UKL cars could be making their way to production in the near-term.
First up are the new 2014 Mini Cooper and Cooper S models that made their debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month. Next will be a convertible version, a five-door hatchback, a Countryman, Clubman, and perhaps even a replacement for the slow-selling Mini Paceman coupe. Then, there are BMW's offshoots: the 1 Series Gran Turismo and the rest of the BMW 1 Series line that has yet to be introduced. Says Robertson to AutoExpress: "You've seen the concept, and the actual car is extremely close." Also planned  are a potential seven-seat version, the next BMW X1, and potentially an even smaller crossover to compete overseas with the Audi Q1 and Q3 models. A new Mazda Miata-fighting Mini Coupe and Roadster are also being evaluated. Curiously, this comes at a time when BMW recently said that it might have over-extended the Mini range with products in niches that no one wanted in the first place, like the Paceman. As nice as it may be--we liked it when we drove it--there's simply been a tiny market for it. BMW has been branching out with new models wherever it can, and it's reaped record sales as a result. A BMW chassis now underpins the Rolls-Royce Ghost and the new 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith at this point, and they're selling like hotcakes, relatively speaking. We just wonder if BMW will ever find a limit with the over-extension of offshoots and mixed messages brought by its new products versus the brand's mission. Source: AutoExpress