To the Editor:
In his July 4 column, Keith Crain asked, "Front drive vs. rear: Does it matter?" For BMW, the answer is emphatically yes.
While front-wheel drive is well suited to the packaging requirements of small cars and all-wheel drive has distinct advantages in predominantly snowy regions, rear-wheel drive delivers the best balance of any layout in terms of performance and feedback to the driver.
Our customers rate very highly the exhilaration of driving their vehicles. That exhilaration is a matter of not only acceleration but also balanced handling, steering feedback and the ability to sense through the steering wheel and seat of the pants how the vehicle is connected to the road.
Rwd enables us to achieve a near 50-50 weight distribution on all our models and does not demand that the front wheels steer, accelerate and brake the vehicle while also carrying a high percentage of the weight on the front axle. The drive layout that delivers maximum performance in so many race cars, including Formula One cars, delivers the same benefits in road-going vehicles.
The BMW Group recognizes the inherent advantages of all those systems, and thus every Mini has fwd, and we offer awd in 11 cars and SUVs.
As you rightly noted, other manufacturers that have previously embraced front-wheel drive are switching to rwd on their standard-sized vehicles for the obvious benefits it delivers to customers who value the enjoyment of the driving experience.
BMW (U.S.) Holding Corp.
Woodcliff Lake, N.J.