When is a BMW not a BMW? Some would say: when it has four wheels. Others will say: when it’s front wheel drive. But here we are. BMW’s smallest crossover has ditched its BMW 3-Series roots for underpinnings shared with the Mini Countryman.
Americans may be surprised to hear that the X1 is not BMW’s first front driver. Neither is it the last BMW with a transverse engine. Our European friends will soon be seeing the 2 Series Gran Tourer — a small 7-seat … minivan. Yes, a BMW minivan. What’s that sound, you ask? Minds blowing.
For purists, the notion of a trio of transverse-engined BMWs prowling around the countryside is an abomination; an affront to everything E46 M3 owners holds sacred.
For the rest of you? It’s no big deal. Seriously.
So… does this look like a BMW to you? Blame the camo if you must, but this forthcoming BMW-branded “0-Series” looks like it’s shaping up to appear as mundane as anything BMW has ever slapped a roundel on. Which makes sense, I suppose, given that it’s going to be the most mundane BMW-branded car yet built, constructed as it is on the next-gen MINI’s transverse, front-drive platform. Even BMW’s forthcoming i3 sports a freakier, funkier high-roof baby hatch look… and despite our initial fears, it’s apparently rear-drive as well. On the other hand, we’ve been here before with Mercedes… and they pulled a surprisingly sexy design out of a humble, front-drive mule. Here’s hoping BMW can pull off some equally adept styling magic, otherwise we’re looking at the BMW Cimmaron right here…