We don’t usually devote much space to spy shots here at CarSalesBase, but in this instance I figured I’d make an exception given that it might lead to an interesting discussion. In particular, after years of speculations and anticipation, we finally have the first pictures of the third-generation 1-series hatchback, which unlike the first two generations will be primarily front-wheel drive.
Now, I am not one of those people who are outraged by this transition – in fact, it makes a lot of sense to me. First, a FWD platform (shared with the 2-series Active/Gran Tourer, the X1 and the larger Mini models) is a much better fit with a compact car for many reasons: compared to a native RWD platform it is lighter, more space-efficient, and cheaper to produce. Second, anecdotal evidence suggests that most 1-series owners don’t even know their car is RWD. Finally, and most importantly to BMW, it is clear that the market does not much care for a RWD small BMW – the current 1-series sells OK, but lies behind its Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-class rivals in European sales. And the A-class only became this popular in its current, third generation, once it ditched its unusual layout and underpinnings, and went fully mainstream.
S0, what will the new 1-series look like? Well, we pretty much know already, as it will look a lot like the 1-series sedan that’s only sold in China so far [picture above]. Two interesting things for me here. First, to my eyes the FWD sedan looks better than the slightly awkward current-generation RWD 2-series [picture below]. Second, this will be yet another instance when a global carmaker decided to introduce a car first in China, before selling it in other parts of the world.
So, what do you think of the incoming 1-series FWD hatch? Let us know in the poll and comments below!
What do you think of the incoming front-wheel drive BMW 1-series
So so - I respect it as an objective improvement, but will mourn the RWD models (45%, 35 Votes)
Love it - it's about time BMW produced a competitive car in this segment (29%, 23 Votes)
Hate it - it's an abomination that has no business in the BMW's line-up (26%, 20 Votes)
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