The big by­pass

BMW em­braces front-drive and snubs Sydney’s mo­tor show

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

new wares to push, this year’s Sydney edi­tion of the show would pro­ceed with­out it.

And with fel­low Bavar­ian brand Audi not tak­ing part, the Ger­man pres­tige stage will be left to Mercedes-Benz.

‘‘ It is a great pity and it’s a de­ci­sion we’ve not taken lightly, es­pe­cially as this year is the 40th an­niver­sary of theM di­vi­sion,’’ Scott says. ‘‘ It is sim­ply a ques­tion of bud­get and de­cid­ing we are un­able to al­lo­cate it to the show.’’

Mean­whileBMWwill un­veil its front-wheel-drive com­pact con­cept ve­hi­cle. It is cer­tain to have com­mon­al­ity with the next gen­er­a­tion ofBMW’s Mini range, the Cooper vari­ant of which has been spied test­ing in Europe.

Though long mooted, it is one sure to be de­cried by purists for whom the blue and white badge re­mains (SUVs ex­cepted) a bas­tion of rear­wheel-drive.

‘‘ We are go­ing to be see­ing a num­ber con­cept sit­ting in that com­pact seg­ment,’’ Scott says. ‘‘ But it is no se­cret we will be go­ing to front-wheel-drive, though only within the con­fines of that class.’’

The Com­pact Ac­tiv­ity Tourer, or CAT, has been rou­tinely re­ferred to as a 1 Se­ries GT. Scott is adamant that it is sep­a­rate de­vel­op­ment with­inBMW’s grow­ing af­ford­able hatch­back range. The coupe and con­vert­ible vari­ants are ex­pected next year.

It is cer­tain, how­ever, that— like the next Mini, due here in 2014— the part-BMW, parthatch­back CAT will use 1 Se­ries un­der­pin­nings, whether in front-, rear- or all-wheel-drive.

Cam­ou­flaged: AMini Cooper pro­to­type, spot­ted by Carparazzi around Mu­nich, hints at the Tourer

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