Is the 2018 1 Series Destined For Front Wheel Drive?

We ‘ve heard this rumor many times over the last few years. First it was the 2013 1 Series. Then it was the mythical “0 ” Series. Now it ‘s back to the 1 Series. Autocar is reporting that BMW will extend its agreement with PSA to produce a modular front wheel drive platform that will underpin the next generation MINI and Citroën/Peugeot small cars. Knowing that the F30 1 Series is already under development as a rear wheel drive car we can only assume BMW is looking at either the next (next generation car (due out roughly around 2018) or another product like the rumored “0 ” series or a Project i product. Here ‘s an excerpt:

“Nothing is concrete at this stage but discussions are on-going about whether or not BMW should break with the tradition of rear and four-wheel-drive cars,” said a BMW source. “For many in this company it is a taboo subject. But we have to be realistic with the targets we have set ourselves for fuel consumption and emissions, and they clearly favour a front-wheel-drive solution for 2018.”

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  • Evan

    MINIs should be FWD and BMWs should be rear. The entire purpose of the 1er is to have a small RWD car- the resultant driving dynamics are what make the price worth it.

    I understand economies of scale and platform sharing, but maybe one small modular platform and one large for all the BMWs and MINIs. And BMW can then start selling its excellent engines for use in other cars. I know of several manufacturers that could really use them.

  • JonPD

    Horrible idea, no matter the car FWD drive cars will always feel like a economy car compared to the behavior of rear wheel drive cars. I think this move would only further muddy the field between the 1 series and the Mini. Less worried about this if it goes to project i though I would still like BMW to stand for being a driving machine, which for me always starts with rwd.

  • IT WRKS

    JonPD you are entitled to your own opinion I will not deny you that. I do HIGHLY Disagree that FWD cars always feel like economy cars. When you have a chance drive a Toyota Yaris back to back with a MINI Cooper and a Ford Focus and you tell me which car(s) do and don’t feel like economy cars. I have owned three MINI’s, currently own a 2002 M3 Convertible, and currently work for a MINI Dealer as a Motoring Advisor. I have also owned many different various front and rear wheel drive cars (13) in my lifetime.

  • GJR

    This would truly be a disgrace. But I can actually see it happening, as so many things that BMW stood for through the years have fallen by the wayside recently with the introductions of M cars with automatic transmissions, turbos, and SUV chassis.

  • Please, no!

  • JonPD

    ITWRKS neither do I deny your opinion. Over a great many years of driving I have spent considerable time behind the wheel of all manners of awd, fwd, and rwd cars. When it comes to economy cars the majority of the market is fwd, when it comes to upscale cars the majority of the market is RWD. As a current Mini owner I can say I love my little car but it still drives like a fwd something I would personally find laughable if it had a BMW logo.

  • IT WRKS

    That differs from what you stated earlier. Interestingly enough though even though you are correct in stating that “Most” upscale cars are rear wheel drive some still start out as Front Wheel Drive. Would you consider a front wheel drive A4 feeling like an economy car? FWD will always feel like front wheel drive and every drive type has its inherent characteristics. I wouldn’t consider a front wheel drive type inferior. More unique and having its own positives and negatives as all do. Front Wheel Drive happens to be less expensive to make compared to Rear Wheel Drive with additional packaging benefits.

  • My biggest issue with this FWD thing (more than the fact it is going against tradition) is that BMW would need to spend SIGNIFICANT R&D money to develop new transverse engines/transmissions and suspension components to fit in these new cars. They can’t just bolt up MINI parts and call it a BMW, consumers (us enthusiasts especially) would see right through that; though I will say that Audi has had some luck with this of late and people have begun to look past the fact they are just VWs dressed up for a night out on the town…

  • zermatt

    I have to agree with other commenters that FWD is a Mini driving platform and that RWD is BMW’s. As wrong as it may seem, I have always considered FWD to be an economy car propulsion method and not really sporting.

    I have a Mini Cooper S along with RWD BMWs and I prefer RWD for autocross and track days.

    1 Series with FWD? The next thing we are going to hear is that BMW is going to offer automatics only.

  • IT WRKS

    Honestly I think a lot of this is premature. This all may have to do with Project-i which would make sense. I have worked for BMW/MINI for over 6 years and they don’t deviate from their recipe for their Kool Aid let me tell you.

  • IT WRKS- They from time to time pass out the Kool-Aid and I refuse to try it, hence why I can still complain about things like the 5 series still not coming standard with Nav- that is just plain silly! 3 without it I get but 5, come on! Obviously, I love BMW but we do need to have some objectivity. I also agree that moving forward a lot of reports from certain places may get confused because of all the new Project-i things circulating. If BMW needs a FWD car they can still get one in SAAB or Volvo, that would be on the cheap- Just buy the name and kill the current cars.

    -M

  • JonPD

    I think BMW will figure out another badge for the Project-I if needed, I have hopes that a company that has such a record for turning out great cars would not befoul their own history. Then again I guess they did stick a ///Momsport badge on their SUV’s lol

  • RJ

    @ Michael….correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Audi, whether it’s FWD or Quattro, uses longitudinal engine placement in their cars…you seem to imply otherwise.

  • ralf

    I say i-setta!!! This hole fwd rumor is going to be for the project-i thing! BMW sticks to rwd and 4wd, believe me! But as i was saying for the BMW i-setta they will use parts with PSA.

  • RJ- For packaging purposes transverse engine/transmissions are used in smaller vehicles- Audi uses them in the TT, and A3 for example. BMW only uses them in the MINI vehicles.

    Audi has used two different Quattro systems- Haldex and Torsen.

  • chas58

    Boy, you can see what a nerve this hit! High end & sports cars certainly benefit from RWD. FWD makes more sense if you go to a smaller chassis (non 2-seaters). I german article I recently read put the 130 in last place behind the mazda3, VW Golf, and Audi S3 – mostly due to packaging and driving dynamics. They were all top line cars, and VW/Audi got 1st and 2nd in part because of the AWD, and because of better packaging. Not that I agree, but that is the priority for some.

  • JonPD

    No doubt also interior dynamics, fwd cars have a bonus for interior room. As for driving dynamics I would take a 50/50 balanced rwd over a fwd most every time personally. Generally you loose some tactile feel of the road due to the fact your steering with the drive wheels. I have to go with Top Gear on this one, that the two should generally be kept separate.