BMWs Front Wheel Drive Plans

As no surprise to us, BMW has leaked more details on the upcoming FRONT WHEEL DRIVE platform. As we and others have reported, BMW is ditching their long held view that rear wheel drive will be the base of all models in hopes of making more profits.

According to Autocar, there will be two new FWD 1-Series variants. The first will be a 5-door hatchback followed by a GT like version. The new FWD 1-Series will have a larger cabin thanks to more upright A-pillars and windshield.

The FWD variants will be built on a modified version of the MINI Countryman platform and are to hit showrooms (in Europe) in September 2013.

Internally known as the UKL (acronym for Unter Klasse), the two FWD models will be accompanied by 4 rear wheel drive 1-Series versions which may be renamed 2 Series (at least in coupe form). RWD versions will include 3 & 5-door hatches along with acoupe and cabriolet.

FWD models will be powered by the much rumored with 1.5 liter, 3-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Codenamed the N37 and N38, respectively, the engines are halfed versions of BMW ‘s current 3.0 liter offerings and will feature all of the current Efficient Dynamics tricks as well as some we have yet to see.

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  • lava

    I’m a bit confused by this. Why make 5 dr hatch ini both 1 and 2 series. Why not limit the 2 series to 2 dr sedan, vert, and perhaps a Z2 size sports car. Leave the FWD platform for hatchbacks, and 4dr sedans where space is more an issue.

  • Lava- The 2 series should be the 2 door cars only. What is confusing is whether the FWD and RWD cars will be named in the 1 Series family or there will be a difference.

  • lava

    That sounds fine with me, but then the question is do you bother to do both a 2dr hatch and a 2dr sedan. Does BMW really want to do a 2dr hatch that will be shopped against much cheaper cars?

  • goat

    Boo. And also hiss. 🙂 Putting aside all usual equivocations, I have long found FWD antithetical to driver satisfaction – with very few exceptions, one of which is famously already in the broader BMW portfolio (MINI). So soon we will have a proper spectrum, in order of decreasing desirability – RWD / xdrive / slip-based AWD / FWD. More dilution of the “driver’s car” ethos I’m afraid…

  • Evan

    It was frightening when we learned that most 1er drivers didn’t know where the power was going, to the front or back. I don’t know how Europe will deal with the FWD 1er, which should have it’s own series designation. I could see the 2 series being the new coupe and cabrio, which seems fine. I’m also sure we won’t ever see the FWD versions on this shore. Nor the 5 door RWD hatch which I’d love to have.

    I hope BMW doesn’t let its drive to be bigger keep diluting the Ultimate Driving Machine. That’s at the core of BMW. At least the MINI is still a hoot to drive. But I want a 3er that’s equally engaging. F30 I hope you keep your game on (and keep the GT away…).

  • Bimmer1

    So it’s official then, we’ve heard it from the source now. BMW is admitting that they no longer make their cars to be the ultimate driving machine. Only a very select few of them are worthy of that tag and they’re ok with that. What a bunch of money grubbin’ wussies! I knew the new board would not be able to uphold the standards and practices of those that came before them. You could see the $$$ signs in their eyes the day they took over.