I would like to have been at yesterday’s BMW financial press conference to hear CEO Norbert Reithofer admit that the BMW brand was gearing up to produce a range of small front-drive cars.

The carmaker has agonised over the front-wheel drive question before. In the early 1990s, BMW built a number of front-drive 3-series prototypes. Back in those days, before the premium brand boom, BMW was a much smaller company.

FWD baby BMW range confirmed

While BMW’s new boss Bernd Pischetsrieder was convinced BMW needed to expand into more market niches, he thought it should not be done under the BMW roundel.

In 1992-3, Land Rover approached BMW, wanting to buy the company’s new straight-six turbo diesel engine. BMW asked Land Rover’s owners, British Aerospace, whether it would sell Land Rover.