BMW's new small car will adopt the company's traditional rear-wheel-drive layout despite recent speculation that it would use a front-wheel-drive powertrain.
The so-called 2 series, which will be made at BMW's Regensburg, Germany, plant from 2004, will be the only rear-wheel-drive entry in the lower-medium segment.
Speculation that the car would be front-wheel drive followed BMW's sale of Rover, when BMW announced it would be keeping hold of all the development work it had undertaken for the new small front-wheel-drive Rover, codenamed R30.
This gave rise to the suggestion that the R30 would form the basis for the future 2 series.
'Taking this decision, we have opted for a concept that focuses in full on one of the most elementary features of all BMW cars - their agility,' said Burkhard Goschel, member of the BMW board of management responsible for development and procurement.
'This makes BMW the only brand offering this sporting drive concept in all segments,' he said, 'and the only brand to offer a car with rear-wheel drive in the upper segment of the lower range.'
The new BMW's major front-wheel-drive competitors will be the Audi A3, VW Golf and Alfa Romeo 147.