Want to know why that is Mr. Roberston? Because Mini has always produced front wheel drive cars. The Mini Cooper BMW produces drives like a modern Mini should. It is an excellent front wheel drive platform but at no point has anyone ever said it is a substitute for rear wheel drive BMW's. Mr. Roberston's analogy makes about as much sense as someone saying a Chrysler 300M will drive just like a Ferrari simply because nobody has questioned FIAT regarding Ferrari's driving dynamics.
BMW built its reputation as producing the ultimate driving machine based on rear wheel drive cars. Clearly, this is all about money as FWD cars are cheaper and easier to produce in order to move the brand further down market to pick up profits in the low end. BMW is sacrificing its image for money and Ian Roberston seems to have no problem with that. We wish there were more people in influential BMW positions like Jim O'Donnel who won't BS you.
The whole point of Mini is for the front wheel drives. Let Mini be Mini and let BMW be BMW. Why push BMW where it doesn't belong? Why not let Mini expand to be what it can be? The lines are already clearly drawn, don't blur them pointlessly.
Mr. Robertson went on to say the following, I think we are very, very capable of developing a front wheel-drive platform that has certain advantages in terms of the design and the use of space, and at the same time will be a BMW as you always expected it to be. Take the badge and the heritage out of it and put the capability into it. Capability is what is important. The whole essence of what you experience from a rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, customers expect it to be a BMW … and that is what is driving us.”
You know what our response is to that load of crap? BMW's own response to it: