The Active Tourer Might Be BMW's Only Front Wheel Drive Model
|   Saturday, February 15, 2014
BMW will launch in 2014 its first front wheel drive model, the Active Tourer. It will resume BMW's thoughts on a minivan idea, and boasts a new configuration, and a new platform with front wheel drive. The new architecture is already used by the new hatchback from Mini, and could give rise to several BMW models of this type, but the German company will focus on models with rear wheel drive and all-wheel drive for the coming years, explains Herbert Diess, BMW's head of development.


More specifically, the representative of the brand has confirmed talks about other future models with front wheel drive in BMW's board, but they are not advanced enough to take into account eventual series models.

The new BMW platform ensures a high level of flexibility, says Herbert Diess. Thus, it is possible to build models which have a length of up to 4.6 meters. The only plans Diess confirmed for the future of BMW involves the simplification of platform strategy, namely reducing their variety and complexity.

This represents one of the key elements of the "Number One Strategy" of the German group. The plan for the brand's future involves the unification of BMW's platforms in order to use a single platform, extremely flexible, for all models. Exceptions to this rule only have one name: the Rolls-Royce range. The brand will take only electrical and electronic components from BMW while the aluminum platform will be dedicated.

The idea of modularity will go also in the engine range. The Germans from BMW are responding to the idea of downsizing with a range of internal combustion engines with three and four-cylinder in-line units that can be mounted both transversely and longitudinally. The level of flexibility provided by the new configuration of motorization is unprecedented among the BMW range, says Herbert Diess.

For nine years, BMW was the number one in the premium car segment. Therefore, the Germans aim to score this big on a permanent base. To achieve this, the company intends to strengthen internal synergies between its brands: BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce. This follows the consolidation of platforms and engine production that can be shared by several models. The BMW calls this plan the Number One Strategy.

Its purpose is to ensure profitability even in times of crisis, not just those favorable to the auto industry. This plan has already helped the BMW Group to reduce production costs by billions, while achieving record sales. In the last year it achieved the best performance of all time, managing to sell 1.94 million units. That was an increase of 6 percent compared to 2012, bringing it closer to the 2016 target of 2 million units.

"That is the current plan. In Europe we are selling fewer and fewer 5 series and 7 series, so we do need smaller cars to respond to the downsizing trend in the premium segment. We have also seen a trend toward more functional cars and it would have been very difficult to derive a model such as the Active Tourer from our rear-wheel-drive platforms. That being said, we are still discussing if and when to launch other front-wheel-drive BMWs. This new platform does provide us with considerable flexibility, as it can underpin models up to 4.6-meters long," declared Herbert Diess.
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