BMW UKL platform to underpin up to 12 models - report

BMW Concept Active Tourer 13.9.2012
BMW Concept Active Tourer 13.9.2012

Company is betting big on front-wheel drive

BMW's UKL platform has critics dreading an onslaught of front-wheel drive models, but the company insists it won't be all that bad.

BMW's product manager for front-wheel drive vehicles told Automotive News, "In the '90s we broke with tradition when we began selling SUVs along with our sedans. Customers realized they could get the driving dynamics BMW is renowned for from an SUV. We will see the same transition happening with front-wheel drive."

Frank Niederlaender's sentiments were echoed by BMW sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson who revealed he sees great potential in front-wheel drive vehicles. According to Robertson "One of the big advantages of UKL is that we are able to launch a lot of products almost simultaneously because we are doing the engineering at once."

In the next eight to ten years, BMW expects to offer up to 12 different models that are based on the UKL platform. We already know about a couple of them - including the BMW 1-Series GT and MINI Cooper / Cooper five-door - but Klaus Draeger, BMW's head of purchasing, hinted the company could launch a front-wheel hatchback, a larger hatchback and a small SUV.

Published Nov 21st, 2012 11:10pm By Michael Gauthier
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Comments (15)

Cayman_ Cayman_
finally a 1 series 5 door door hatch, cant wait.
Nov 29th, 2012 10:19am
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Audi has FWD in their line up including the base A6 and A8 hybrid
Nov 25th, 2012 5:24pm
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fqlynx2011 fqlynx2011
1st) "Customers realized they could get the driving dynamics BMW is renowned for from an SUV". You're kidding me right, rubbish on the road and off. For a company, that owned Land Rover, that is rubbish. 2nd) Profit, really? I own my BMW because of it's style and engineering. Why on earth would I buy an overpriced BMW fwd car, when there are far better, cheaper alternatives. BMW have this all wrong... a BMW is bought for it's drive, their previous styles and exclusivity which made the brand. Guess what, as BMW start to sell more and more fwd cars, that exclusivity will be lost, ergo BMW will no longer have the snob factor and they'll loose business. I would never buy an SUV from BMW... Land Rover are simply better. As such, I would never buy the models BMW intends to launch... other manufacturers have more experience and are cheaper. What I want from BMW is the Ultimate Driving Machine... not the above. And before any comments on "oh BMW are business, etc"... in this business image, realibility and loyal customers are everyhting. Can anyone see a 5 series GT owner spending anywhere near the money an E30 owner would to main the car? Doubt it. Before anyone shuns the older models... don't forget they made the image and the brand BMW that we know today. But yeah, let's forget the old receipe, what did that ever achieve?!
Nov 22nd, 2012 10:39pm
0 1
Serious question, how many people you know that actually take their Land Rovers offroad?? People who can afford these expensive SUV's rarely venture offroad. Its more of a status thing to own one. The Mini is an amazing handling car. Having driven one and going by countless reviews of the car its fair to say BMW knows how to do FWD. Its safe to say that BMW know what they are doing since manufacturers like Fiat, Citroen and Audi all want a piece of the Mini pie so your argument about other manufacturers having experience and doing better falls flat. After the release of the BMW X6 we saw Porsche and numerous other manufacturers rush for a piece of the market the X6 created so clearly BMW knows what they are doing if so many other manufacturers are following BMW into every niche they create. Lamborghini and Bentley also looking to get in on some X6 action soon.
Nov 23rd, 2012 8:31am
2 0
@tazcubed: I don't know about you but BMW has grown and been a huge success these past few years, contrary to what you spouting right now. Other's opinions on here are hard to respect when all they blab on about is "tradition, tradition, tradition". Alot of people on here do not see the smart business decisions BMW is making to stave off the threat of Audi and VW. BMW need to expand their business, this is no longer an option but compulsory for them to do so. BMW has never forced FWD on us. These lower end models are all going to be created to boost profits. See DTM's excellent post (above). The mainstay's of 3, 5 and 7 will retain the traditional RWD ethos as will the M models. Why some cannot make room for entry level FWD cars alongside the traditional RWD's in BMW's stable is beyond me. Sometimes i get the feeling people just want to whine for the sake of whining. I welcome the FWD family if it means the profits generated is going to improve on the core 3,5 and 7 series family.
Nov 22nd, 2012 6:32pm
2 0
Hear, hear.
Nov 23rd, 2012 5:02pm
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tazcubed tazcubed
Boogie, I especially agree with the last sentence you wrote. There's 2 sides to success - the current purchases and the number of retained (loyal) customers for future vehicles. If the 3, 5 and 7 series is the benchmarks and hallmarks of the BMW brand, I certainly don't see how it can retain customers if the cars crap out regularly given my experience. Part of any good business model is about retaining customers. BMW may risk it all by quantity over quality. If BMW wants to enter the foray of FWD and can do it with a better durability across the entire lineup I'm all for it. It just seems that with the expanding lineup of vehicles, the quality and durability of what has been the mainstays has diminished. What I liked about the 5 series was it's handling, power and design, but when I drove the new 5 series I was nonplussed - like I was losing something in the process instead of gaining. I think the traditionalists would be satisfied if the core of BMW cars was retained - I think you're right that they'll maintain the RWD with the 3,5 and 7s but other aspects such as making the quality of driving experience seems to have been lost a bit since with the move to electric steering and they're seemingly more focused on the luxury ride than handling. In the end, I think we're actually on the same page, but it's a matter that BMW puts more effort into ensuring the core qualities that make a BMW a BMW is upheld to the highest standard they can achieve.
Nov 23rd, 2012 5:52pm
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Ivo_205 Ivo_205
Every FWD car I have driven with "adequate" power (130 HP, 350NM) had torque issues while flooring it in a corner. Not sure about this move.
Nov 22nd, 2012 6:31pm
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What needs to be understood is that BMW are foremost a business. Yes, its sad that the tradition will be broken but FWD small cars will be a lot more cost effective. What really is the question is what BMW will do with this increase in profitability? If it is to retain their distinct edge as the leader in driving dynamics, BRING IT ON!
Nov 22nd, 2012 3:54pm
4 1
CDspeed CDspeed
Well said DTM.
Nov 22nd, 2012 4:31pm
2 0
tazcubed tazcubed
While I agree that in the end BMW is a business, the problem is that in it's endeavor to expand it's product lines it's also lost it's character. The latest versions of the 3 and 5 series seem to be a step backwards from the driver's performance choice and now more focused on luxury. In my opinion, I think Audi has seen and grasped the opportunity to take the lead (and others are making it more competitive). If BMW continues down this path they will lose their mystique and lose the enthusiasts. Read what others have posted here and their opinions should not be neglected. The other aspect that BMW needs to focus on is durability of product. If the previous gen 5 series that I owned hadn't been in the shop more times than any other car I've driven then I'd have stuck with BMW. Loyalty only goes so far - BMW has missed some essential tenets in the past 10 years for a luxury manufacturer.
Nov 22nd, 2012 5:46pm
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Han Solo Han Solo
Nov 22nd, 2012 11:01am
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motorfan28 motorfan28
They should stick with the tradition of RWD for any BMW badged car and give the FWD to their sub-brands. Why fix something that is really good when it ain't broke
Nov 22nd, 2012 7:04am
1 2
out4ride out4ride
BMW taking lessons from VW. It's all about making money for them now and screwing heritage.
Nov 22nd, 2012 4:55am
1 2
Ratt Ratt
SUVs are a different story, maybe not a tradition but they can look powerful and they're not FWD, this Opel Meriva is FDW, so BMW's product manager is full of crap, just say it we are losing our soul.
Nov 22nd, 2012 12:06am
1 4