Will the fwd platform account for about a quarter of BMW Group's planned 2 million sales by 2016?
It will depend on various market developments. So far we have decided that the new front-wheel-drive platform will be used for the third-generation Mini range and for the 2-series Active Tourer, which will be our first front-wheel-drive [BMW brand] car. The plan envisages about 30 rear-wheel-drive models and 15 front-wheel drive, including Mini, so we will still be very much a rear-wheel-drive company.
Will the Active Tourer be BMW's only fwd car?
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.
Will you simplify your rwd platform strategy?
Absolutely. Reducing the amount of variety and complexity is a key pillar of Strategy Number One. In the past we basically had two rear-wheel-drive platforms. One was centered on the 1 and 3 series and their respective X models and the other on the 5, 6 and 7 series and larger X models. In the future, we will converge all our rear-wheel drive and X models on a single, highly flexible architecture.
Will this new rwd platform also underpin future Rolls-Royce models?
Rolls-Royce will continue to share some elements, such as its electric system and electronic components. Its powertrains are heavily modified BMW units. But on the body side the two brands will remain worlds apart – steel unibody construction for BMWs and aluminum spaceframe for Rolls.
What is the potential range of your new modular engine family?
A 500cc combustion chamber for both gasoline and diesel, with both three- and four-cylinder layouts, giving total capacities of 1.5 and 2.0 liters. One crucial element is that these new engines are designed to mount transversally in Mini and BMW front-drive models, as well as longitudinally in other BMWs. This is a level of flexibility we did not have in the past.