Traditionalists, like myself and many other car enthusiasts out there, never would’ve thought to have lived to hear the following words put together in a sentence like this. But, word in the rumormill is that BMW is gearing up to debut a new front-wheel driven 1-Series at this year’s Paris auto show.
Now, BMW breaking all of their traditions, by even their own words when at one point they called front-wheel drive “the work of Satan,” isn’t exactly news at all because the much-anticipated BMW i3 city car broke that tradition first, most recently. But considering the i3’s specific market, most of us car nuts just shrugged it off. Unfortunately, it seems the BMW nuts’ worst nightmare may be coming true.
To better streamline production costs in whole for global operations, manufacturers have been painstakingly engineering “modular” platforms, or automobile platforms that can be configured in a vast variety of ways. For instance, Volkswagen’s new modular platform seeks to serve as the basis for cars ranging from the compact Golf, to the full-size Passat.
With BMW and this new front-wheel drive 1-Series, it’s pretty much a similar story. Internally designated as the UKL platform, which in German, stands for “unter klasse” or “entry class” in English, the modular platform is the new backbone for the next generation of Minis.
But because BMW has been soldiering on without a direct competitor to the front-wheel driven Mercedes-Benz B-Class hatchback, the Munich brand apparently decided that this was their opportunity to tighten their competition in the luxury subcompact segment in Europe.
Included in the rumormill were details that this new front-wheel 1-Series will be powered by BMW’s newest 1.5L turbocharged three-banger, which will also be used in the next gen Minis.
Whether this front-wheel drive BMW will make it stateside is up for question.
– By: Chris Chin