Report Says BMW City Car Approved – Could Be Called Isetta
By Chris Haak
Now, AutoExpress has reported that the fourth brand will be a lineup of small city cars to compete directly with Daimler AG’s Smart brand, and that it has been given the green light. The reason BMW chose a sub-Mini line as its addition is to reduce the company’s overall CO2 footprint and improve its standing with environmentalists. The vehicles would likely be powered by small gasoline and diesel engines, backed by turbochargers. The rendering used here is from AutoExpress.
To me, the most intriguing aspect of this news is the rumor that the leading contender for the brand name is Isetta. For those who don’t know, Isetta was the brand of tiny BMW-sold bubble cars in the 1950s. They had a single door in the front of the vehicle and a single bench seat. It was powered by a one cylinder engine; my father’s friend owns a red and white 1957 Isetta, and it sounds almost exactly like a small lawn tractor when the engine is running. The rumor is that if BMW goes with the Isetta name, it will also feature neo-retro styling reminiscent of the original Isetta. After all, such a styling concept has worked very well for BMW’s Mini brand. It’s doubtful that there would be a way to incorporate the signature single front door in this era of rigorous crash tests and product liability lawsuits.
If I were to drive a tiny car (which is unlikely), I’d want one that has the historical lineage and most personality in the class. Also, being a BMW, it would likely be fun to drive – or as fun to drive as anything with 50 horsepower could be. Here’s hoping that BMW does, in fact, revive the Isetta brand.
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