BMW recently tipped its hand on a slew of new vehicles coming to its line up in the next few years. These new, or in some cases, redesigned, models are radically different for a company that builds “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” First and foremost, they will all feature standard front wheel drive. On the outside they will be noticeably smaller, allowing BMW to inch its way into the compact car market that so many consumers are demanding in these days of $4 fuel prices.
One of the first new models we can expect to see stateside relatively soon is the BMW X1. The little brother of the X3 SUV, as know as the baby-Bimmer, the X1 was expected to grace us with its presence in the first quarter of 2011, but is thus far a no-show. Its US launch has been delay due to higher than anticipated demand in Europe. The X1 is significantly smaller than the X3, gaining only a few inches over its cousin 1-series coupe, but still maintains a spacious interior reminiscent of a mid-size SUV. Its standard 4 cylinder gasoline powered engine is the most likely candidate for a US launch but hopefully we will get the 45 mpg diesel engine available as well. The X1 should prove to be viable high-end competition for Toyota RAV-4 and Ford Escape buyers.
Another sibling expected to be well received here in the United States is the long rumored Z2 Roadster. A shorted version of the sporty Z4, the Z2 Roadster has been rumored to be in the making for half a decade now but as of yet nothing has materialized. Recent public road test sightings lead us to believe that a 2013 model is a distinct possibility. Like the X1, the Z2 will feature a front wheel drive 4 cylinder engine. Likely a line of 4 cylinder models will be available with the top model expected to top out at 250 horsepower, plenty of force for a car only weighing 2,200lbs.
The smaller cars, accompanied with their lower price points should allow BMW to compete in a whole new market, making luxury more affordable.