May 4th, 2013
It’s all theoretical of course but when asked about BMW’s new 1.5L three cylinder architecture the head of BMW M was unusually candid about the possibilities. According to an interview Dr. Friedrich Nitschke gave to Car and Driver the new engine is capable of more than we initially thought. Quite a bit more. continued →
Nov 24th, 2012
This post is also featured over on our sister site, BimmerFile.com.
In various interviews over the past few months, BMW executives have hinted at grand plans for the UKL platform. Reported by both MotoringFile and BimmerFile, the UKL platform will spawn an onslaught of FWD models. This will make MINI more long-term viable and will drive the BMW Group to greater economies of scale. Yet just how far BMW is willing to go with FWD, and how big the MINI brand will get hasn’t really been understood until recently.
Sep 17th, 2012
A lot is going to change with the next generation MINI. The aesthetic design of the car will be part evolution and part revolution, and the underlying chassis platform was designed from a blank sheet in close collaboration with BMW. At the center of all this change is a new family of engines — not simply a refresh, but a whole new engine platform. It’s the soul of the machine, so MINI fans around the world are hoping BMW gets them right. As we’ve previously reported, the engine lineup for future MINIs (and a few cars in the BMW lineup) is based on a half-liter-per-cylinder platform. This will mean not only a drop in engine displacement from 1,600cc to 1,500cc, but a change from four cylinders down to three.
Perhaps “down” is the wrong way to put it, though. Doing more with less has always been at the heart of MINI.
Sep 14th, 2012
BMW may have saved the MINI brand, but for years they struggled to create sustainable and healthy profit from it. More than once it looked like sharing platforms and engines would be the only answer. However, BMW being the last large independent automaker left decided to go a different route. Instead of partnering with another automaker on developing a front wheel drive platform for the next MINI they decided to keep it all in house and build it themselves taking all the knowledge from the MINI program to create a thoroughly modern platform and family of engines. It was and remains a gamble. BMW is as synonymous with rear wheel drive cars as MINI is with front wheel drive. In a sense BMW is gambling enormously with it’s own core brand to help MINI continue to be successful and remain sustainable as a brand in an uncertain global environment.
Today we see the first fruits of this plant in the BMW Concept Active Tourer. Make no mistake, this is a lightly disguised production version of BMW’s forthcoming front wheel drive hatch. But what does it tell us about the 2014 two door hatch F56 MINI that will be based on it? Interestingly, not much when it comes to exterior design. The basic shape is actually very close to the forthcoming five door MINI hatch that we told you about earlier this year. In fact it’s basically the same structure. But that doesn’t mean we’re getting a glimpse of anything overtly MINI related. What we do get out of this car is a look at the technology that we’ll find in the next generation MINI and the drivetrain technology. That said keep in mind that this is a concept and the all wheel drive plugin hybrid drivetrain will likely not make it to MINI. At least not initially. Instead focus on that 1.5L three cylinder engine under the hood. Look for that and engines derived from it in pretty much every future MINI over the next ten years.