New BMW 1 Series goes front-wheel drive
Proper driving enthusiasts and motoring journalists may have reservations about this alteration, but the stark truth is 1 Series customers are unlikely to be affected too much. A recent survey revealed that 80 percent of 1 Series customers actually thought their vehicles were front wheel drive anyway, so the shift is unlikely to cause too many great waves. Besides, BMW’s MINI demonstrated the company’s competence in building front-wheel drive cars that are fun to drive.
The 1 Series will also share other fundamental structuring points with the MINI, although suspension, steering and gearbox setups are set to be quite different.
The new vehicles will also share engines with the MINI, so we can expect to see three-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesels to expand from the bottom of the range where they are currently, becoming the default for 1 Series buyers. Plug-in hybrid and all-electric versions are likely, while the performance-based M140i (or its equivalent) should be powered by a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, or six-cylinder engine.
This type of downsizing is a sign of the times at present, carmakers have finally entered the petrol/diesel endgame and emissions and improved fuel economy are steps towards this.
The change from rear to front-wheel drive will reduce weight, while interior cabin space should improve. When the BMW 2 Series coupe and convertible arrive, these should also switch to front-wheel drive.
The new 1 Series will feature all BMW’s latest tech: Apple CarPlay and ‘Gesture-control’ apps. These type of systems were first seen in the recent 5 Series, and by the time the 1 Series goes on sale, they will have been developed significantly.
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