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BMW UKL Platform Could Underpin a Dozen Forthcoming Models

When the Bavarian carmaker told the automotive media that front-wheel drive is the way to go for the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, many fans of the breed were skeptical about this move. However, a recent report tells that even the next-gen 1 Series as well as the X1 and up to 10 MINI nameplates will be underpinned by the new UKL platform.
2015 MINI Cooper five-door 1 photo
At the present moment, the modular architecture UKL1 platform forms the skeleton of the all-new MINI (F56), BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (F45) and MINI five-door model (F55), but the future will see extensive use of the UKL platform, with the UKL2 variant expected to underpin the third-generation BMW 1 Series and its sister model, the future BMW X1. Although rear-wheel drive will remain the centrepiece of the German brand, any model under 4.5 meters in length and smaller than a 3 Series will make use of the UKL modular architecture platform.

BMW corporate and government affairs spokesperson Kai Lichte has told the Aussies over at CarAdvice that "We can count on total Group sales, up to 2020, of up to 40 per cent coming out of small and compact car segment, UKL... for BMW, the rear-wheel drive will stay most important by far.” While that is a reassuring bit of news that confirms BMW will not water down its high-end models that would lose their charm in front-wheel drive guise, all isn't set in stone according to Stefan Karch, the 2 Series Active Tourer launch manager. Speaking to CarAdvice at a recent event, Stefan told that "not everything that is possible we can do. If each derivative makes sense profitably. We won't do everything."

So what kind of front-wheel drive madness can we expect from the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG in the years to come? It can handle three and four-cylinder transverse mounted powerplants, so the UKL will most probably underpin future models such as a seven seater variant of the Active Tourer, the next-gen BMW 1 Series and X1 with either FWD or AWD, as well as the coupe-ish sibling of the future X1, that'll bear the X2 moniker.

Although the platform can handle cars as small as 3.8 meters in length, “Mini will always be Mini. If we think about having BMW in that segment it would be completely different car,” commented Karch. That basically leaves the rumor mill open with the possibility of a small Bimmer that'll most probably wear the 0 Series nameplate. The official also dropped a pretty curious hint about what lies ahead for the 3 Series: "It’s really hard to imagine having a 3 Series on a front-wheel drive platform. We don’t see it for the next 10 years that’s for sure. Performance will still be related to rear-wheel drive.”


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