BMW is the world’s leading automotive manufacturer of carbon fiber with its BMWi brand. We’ve reported on the strategy, the technology and the models created with it. But the brand’s plans with the light weight material don’t stop there. First up is the 2016 7 Series which gets the CF treatment throughout its core losing almost 200 lbs in the process. Next will be the 5 and 3 series as their generations turn over. Yet according to sources the Carbon Fiber revolution doesn’t stop there. Deep inside the halls at BMW, engineers are testing carbon fiber components (and more specifically a lightweight hood) for future MINIs.
The idea of a lightweight carbon fiber hood has been around on the aftermarket since 2005 and the R53. It’s the most logical place to take away weight from a front wheel drive nose heavy car. Yet for automakers, crash testing and cost concerns have always relegated such luxuries to high end performance cars.
Continued mass production of CF at BMW Moses Lake plant in Washington St is driving down cost and allowing BMW and MINI to use the material in new and novel ways. Sources tell us that beyond the hood, BMW is experimenting with CF body panels, wheels, steering wheels, suspension components and even seat frames across its any models. Cost effective applications will be key for MINI given it’s place in the market. However sources are adamant that MINI will see some portion of this technology – likely in time for the next generation G Series (4th Generation new MINI) debuting around 2020.