According to Automotive News BMW’s board has formally approved a 1 Series sedan based on the front wheel drive UKL platform. For those who haven’t been following this slice of the BMW news world, this is big news. There were plenty of factions within BMW that had argued the 1 Series sedan should be based on the current 1 Series rear drive platform and thus keep with the classic formula of what has made BMW so unique in the automotive world. However BMW has gone in a different direction likely due to costs and efficiency needs.
For enthusiasts this is a tough pill to swallow. The very idea of a small, lightweight BMW sedan brings back font memories of the E30 and E36 BMWs. Yet bring rear wheel drive is at the very core of those products. This new 1 Series sedan will not be like those cars. It may be very good and perhaps even best in class amongst small front wheel drive sedans. But it will never have the front wheel drive balance and feel of the classic BMW sedans.
What about the rumored 2 Series Grande Coupe? For BMW enthusiasts that’s the last likely the last hope for a small rear wheel drive sedan.
This choice clearly draws the line in the sand when it comes to the future of RWD BMWs. The classic models will remain rear wheel drive with optional all wheel drive. Anything below a 3 Series (or X3) will be UKL based. Crucially that means the next generation 2 Series Coupe (not the one days away from its internet debut) expected late this decade will also be front wheel drive. Sacrilegious? Perhaps.