Klaus Froehlich’s recent promotion to head of r&d for the BMW Group comes as the automaker shakes up its powertrain and platform lineups. Froehlich, who replaced Herbert Diess in December, discussed the group’s evolving platform and engine strategy with Automotive News Europe Editor Luca Ciferri and Germany Correspondent Christiaan Hetzner.
BMW just introduced its second front-wheel-drive model, the 2-series Grand Tourer. What will be your fwd/rwd mix by 2020?
Our customers will decide our mix, but because fwd models are mainly focused on Europe, rwd volumes will be dominant for a very long time.
Will BMW switch the next 1 series to fwd to reduce CO2 emissions?
The CO2 difference between rwd and fwd is minimal. What is more relevant is that customers want to have a sportier car. That will drive the decision we make at the end of the year. We have excellent architectures for both fwd and rwd, so I’m not worried.
The next X1 will be fwd, which will result in more interior space. Is there another big advantage?
Better proportions. It will look a bit bolder because of the shorter engine hood. The new X1 will really show that we can make fantastic cars with our fwd/four-wheel-drive architecture.
Is 4600mm the maximum length of vehicles based on this architecture?
At 4556mm, the 2-series Grand Tourer is now the longest application. We have some room to make smaller cars, lower cars and so on.