Mike Stevens | Aug 3, 2012

BMW's so-named 1 Series Gran Turismo could make its global debut in the coming weeks, according to reports out of Europe this week.

While no sources were revealed, British magazine Auto Express reports that BMW has confirmed a Paris Motor Show unveiling in September.

Photos of the new car under test earlier this year reveal a taller profile than the regular rear-wheel-drive 1 Series, focusing on ease of access and MPV-like interior space.

Sharing its underpinnings with the next-generation MINI Cooper, the 1 Series GT is believed to be the first of many new front-wheel-drive BMW cars.

Power for the new hatch is expected to come from a new 1.5 litre three-cylinder petrol engine, producing more than 75kW. Four-cylinder engines are also expected, including a diesel option.

“The car will have to fit with BMW’s traditions, which means it will still be fast with good handling – so 100bhp is a bare minimum. The MINI versions will be less powerful," a BMW source was quoted by Auto Express.

The carmaker confirmed last year that the new 'UKL' architecture will be compatible with vehicles measuring 3800mm to 4300mm long, covering city cars through to compact/light cars such as the Cooper Hatch and the 1 Series GT.

The report adds that the front-wheel-drive 1 GT will get a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the new Cooper will feature ZF-sourced six-speed manuals and automatics.

Hybrid and electric versions of the 1 Series GT are also expected, despite the existence of the similarly-sized, but technically unrelated, BMW i3 electric city car.

As for the idea of a front-wheel-drive Bimmer, the carmaker isn't expecting any problems, after a study conducted in 2010 revealed that nearly 80 percent of its 1 Series owners already thought the car was driven at the front wheels.

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