BMW may say it's the "new 1 Series," but in reality we're dealing with a minor refresh.
BMW is working on the next-generation 1 Series but it wants to remind us the current model is still available for those who are not excited about the prospects of a front-wheel-drive hatch closely related to the Minis. On sale this month in both three- and five-door body styles, the RWD model from Bavaria can be had with a wide array of three-, four-, and six-cylinder engine.
Not only will the 1 Series be demoted to a FWD setup, but it will also likely do without the sweet-sounding inline-six unit of the flagship M140i where the turbocharged 3.0-liter develops 340 horsepower (250 kilowatts) and 500 Newton-meters (368 pound-feet) of torque. All of the sudden, the existing 1 Series becomes a lot more interesting if though it’s beginning to show its age, despite its latest nip and tuck acting as a swan song.
For those who would rather patiently wait for the next gen, the all-new model that’s due likely towards the end of 2018 or early 2019 will have a lot going for it despite losing some of the assets of the 1 Series you can buy today. A weight loss enabled by the UKL platform is planned, and that’s despite an expected bump in size to make the cabin more spacious.
A new M140i is still in the works, but with two fewer cylinders and probably destined to be offered exclusively with xDrive. A beefy turbocharged 2.0-liter could end up powering the top-of-the-range version and should have more than 300 hp. Corroborated with the diet, it should translate into some more than decent performances, though some will miss the soundtrack provided by the bigger mill.
The switch from a RWD to a FWD setup might not be that big of a problem for people shopping in this segment as most of them don’t really care. A study from 2010 conducted by BMW revealed some rather shocking statistics: 80 percent of 1 Series owners believed they had a FWD car. Factor in the success of the 2 Series Active Tourer & Gran Tourer MPVs and you’ll come to the realization it’s not very important for most of the people who are actually buying these “ultimate driving machines.”