FWD 1 Series No Sure Thing Photo:
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2015_bmw_1_series_australia_01 Photo: tmr
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Mike Stevens | Jun, 23 2015 | 10 Comments

Fanatics fearful of a BMW management focused on front-wheel-drive models may soon be able to breathe easy.

Comments in recent years have led many to believed that BMW, lauded for offering a rear-wheel-drive 1 Series in a sea of front-wheel-drive options, would soon join the ‘bum-dragging’ party.

It has been widely reported that a new front-wheel-drive design has been locked in for the third-generation 1 Series, sharing the UKL platform that underpins the MINI Cooper.

That new architecture has already begun to make its way across the smaller end of BMW’s line-up, debuting last year with the 2 Series Active Tourer and more recently beneath the all-new X1 SUV.

Above: the X1 has gone front-wheel-drive.
Above: the X1 has gone front-wheel-drive.

But, new comments this week from BMW engineering executive Klaus Froehlich reveal that the company has yet to decide on the question of where the new 1 Series will send its power.

Speaking with US magazine Motor Trend, Froehlich said that the company is considering whether the current model’s rear-wheel-drive design has played a crucial role in ‘conquest’ sales - the art of winning buyers away from other brands and building a loyal customer base.

"If rear drive, we would lose advantages of luggage space. But if one sort of customer wants space, he can get the 2 Series Active Tourer,” he told the magazine.

“The 1 Series is about conquest sales, so it has to be a true BMW.”

This suggests the next 1 Series could retain the rear-wheel-drive layout that has made the hatch a singularly exciting car for those that enjoy tying practicality together with an obsession for rear-wheel-drive motoring.

Froehlich said that the company will make its decision by the end of the year.

Watch for more to surface in the months ahead.


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