Brought to the United States as a 2008 model, the BMW 1 Series was billed as the answer to the question, "What happened to the 3 Series, and how did it get so big all of the sudden?" Only available here as a coupe or convertible, the 1 Series won praise for its small size, sharp handling, and especially in the case of the 135i, powerful engine. Following that first generation, the 1 Series left the US market, as BMW sold the second generation model exclusively in Europe. The third generation will be returning to the US, but some big changes are on their way.
If a BMW is front-wheel drive, is it really a BMW anymore? In a sense, this question applies to the i3 , but as an electric car, accepting that it’s going to be a bit easier than it would be if it had a traditional drivetrain.
The upcoming 2018 1 Series, however, is not an electric car . It actually does have a traditional, internal-combustion engine, and even though it’s relatively young, it’s traditionally been rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive came as an option later, but even though it was small and relatively inexpensive, the 1 Series has always been a very capable handler. Not content to make a vehicle that wasn’t still the ultimate driving machine, BMW produced a car that was nimble, well balanced, and a hoot to drive.
The third-generation 1 Series, however, is coming our way, and the news is that it’s going to be front-wheel drive. Is this an abomination? Should BMWs only be rear-wheel drive (or all-wheel drive)? Isn’t front-wheel drive something for those other family sedans? It looks like we’re about to find out because ready or not, a front-wheel drive BMW is coming.
Note: Upcoming revised BMW 1 Series pictured here.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2018 BMW 1 Series.