In order to go into the small car market and the personal contract hire market, a manufacturer has to have a competent range of small, economical cars which will probably be front wheel drive.
Its easy to assume that for BMW that this would be new territory, but in fact they have been producing front wheel drive cars for a few years under the Mini badge. The Mini is a great drivers car, so we can assume that any small BMW will be as well, but more radical than the drive train is the range of drive options that have been previewed in the US by BMW.
BMW have produced a new chassis to build this new range and it will probably be used for the Mini as well. The car will utilise lightweight materials in its body and panels and is aimed at the Audi A3 and the VW Golf.
They have been readying a 1.5 litre, three cylinder engine (half a 3 litre 6 cylinder?) in both petrol and diesel form and in normally aspirated and turbo forms. A benefit in kind busting hybrid has also been hinted at. The label is likely to be a 1 series Grand Tourismo with a compact MPV not far behind at launch.
Don’t prejudge this engine, it is already running at over 200 bhp in test cars or at 65 mpg in diesel form. As BMW try and grow their slice of the business car and personal leasing or user chooser market, fantastic introductions like this will only strengthen what is already a great line up.