BMW moves to front

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By NEIL DOWLING

GET ready for a change of pace at BMW as it an­nounces up to 12 new fron­twheel drive mod­els.

The once-staunch rear-wheel-drive car maker says it will use its new front-drive plat­form for fu­ture BMW mod­els — in­clud­ing the Con­cept Ac­tive Tourer on dis­play at this week’s Paris Mo­tor Show — and for the new Mini.

The new Mini Cooper, which is expected in early 2014, will be the first to use the shared plat­form, which is called UKL.

Speak­ing at the Paris show, BMW board mem­ber Ian Robert­son in­di­cated a range of front-drive mod­els with the BMW badge could arrive to­gether in 2014.

‘‘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,’’ Robert­son says.

In ref­er­ence to the Con­cept Ac­tive Tourer, he says: ‘‘This is the first car that we are show­ing.’’

BMW is on record as say­ing the pre­mium small car mar­ket will be­come the fastest grow­ing seg­ment be­cause it of­fered flex­i­bil­ity in de­sign, spa­cious­ness and a com­pact foot­print.

‘‘We will at­tract a broad pro­file of cus­tomers, from young fam­i­lies to peo­ple en­ter­ing the later phase of life,’’ Robert­son says.

‘‘You get a lot of flex­i­bil­ity.’’

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