For years we’ve collectively held our breath wondering if this would happen. Would BMW go against long standing traditions and build a front wheel drive sedan. We now have a very convincing answer. This week BMW began testing its UKL based front wheel drive 1 Series sedan for the first time on public roads.
How do we know its UKL based? The size of the overhang and the overall proportions give it away. As does the shape of the sloping bonnet and headlights. Perhaps more telling is the fact that BMW’s ending production of it’s rear wheel drive small car platform when the F22 2 Series ceases production in 2020. That would make basing a four door sedan off of this older platform simply not ideal as BMW will want to naturally stop supporting it with new technology like hybrid drive etc (remember how long in the tooth the E46 based first generation X3 got?).
So it’s front wheel drive and it’s a sedan. Could it possibly be any good? Early returns on the UKL based 2 Series Active Tourer have been mixed with praise for the overall build quality and materials. But driving impressions have been lukewarm to warm at best. It’ll be interesting to see how BMW responds to this and potentially dials-up driver involvement.
The big question in our minds is what this means for the next generation 2 Series (released around 2020). The 1 Series Coupe and now 2 Series have represented an ode to BMW’s celebrated past of small rear wheel drive two door coupes. Could that lineage die out in 5-6 years? We for one hope not but it’s easy to see where this is headed.
Photo credit: Autocar