Interview

Future BMWs With Front-Wheel Drive Won't Look Like Dork Mobiles

Because the brand's design chief won't allow it.

Take a look at any front-wheel drive sedan and/or coupe and compare it with a rear-wheel drive counterpart. Notice anything? The latter has better overall dimensions, notably little front overhang. Makes complete mechanical sense since it’s the rear wheels driving the car, and BMW has become an expert over the years at shaving down as much front overhang has possible. But what’s going to happen to future BMWs with the German brand about to make a shift to FWD?

We spoke with BMW chief designer, Karim Habib, at Geneva last week and were personally reassured that his upcoming FWD designs will have "excellent proportions." Along with a pledge to "keep the brand evolving" styling wise, Habib reiterated to me several times the importance of proportions, despite the “difficulties in doing so with a front-wheel drive architecture.” While a future FWD 1 Series may not look as aggressive as, say, a RWD 3 Series, it’ll still very much retain that BMW look and not go all Ford Focus on us. "Dynamics and sportiness are core" elements to all BMWs, Habib concluded.

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