Front-drive BMW 1-series is planned to form part of an increased number of 1-series models to be sold in the UK by the middle of the decade
7 June 2012

Mini's new five-door hatchback forms part of a broader front-wheel drive platform strategy instigated by parent company

Developed under the internal working name UKL (an acronym for the German words ‘unter klasse’, or ‘entry level’ in English), it aims to not only increase the number of front-wheel-drive models offered by Mini but also provide the basis for a ground-breaking new front-wheel-drive BMW that is planned to form part of an increased number of 1-series models to be sold in the UK by the middle of the decade.

Likely to be called the 1-series GT, the new entry-level BMW is set to be previewed in concept form at the Paris motor show in September, ahead of a planned introduction in late 2014.

As well as running the front-wheel drive underpinnings developed by Mini and BMW, the new Mercedes B-class-rivalling hatchback will use the firm’s new turbocharged 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine, which will also be used in the next generation of Minis.

Relying on the same modular construction techniques evident in its diesel engines, the new petrol engine shares its 500cc individual cylinder capacity and other key elements with BMW’s classic 3.0-litre straight six petrol unit.

Our Verdict

BMW 1 Series review hero front

A final facelift for the rear-wheel drive BMW 1 Series, as it aims to take class honours from the formidable Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class

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7 June 2012

Rear wheel drive in a small family hatch is not practical, just look how long the bonnet is, rear room is all too cramped too.  Plus FWD has the advantage of me not having to push my neighbours 1 series off the drive on snowy morning 

No doubt all the BMW fans will moan at these comments but at the end of the day BMW think the same otherwise they wouldn't be doing it!

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

7 June 2012

A front-wheel drive BMW sounds positive. Hopefully I won't see those ones being left at the roadside by the owners during slighlty snowy conditions. I know BMWs aren't the best looking cars out there, but surely the new 1-Series GT won't be as ugly as Autocar's image suggest?

7 June 2012

think you will find with a minimum of investigative journalistic zeal that "unter" is German for "under" NOT "entry" - althogh I'm sure the nice PR man told you they haven't named the new platform the "underclass" or even the "shiftless and irresponsible, unemployed class"

7 June 2012

Sorry, can't help myself, but surely ‘munter klasse’ is more apt...

7 June 2012

After the dismal failure of the 5 series GT, I'm surprised at this move, maybe the VW Golf Plus is selling well somewhere we dont know about and BMW needed a response, or they are reacting to the new Audi A2 concept?

7 June 2012

Sorry I'm going to moan.

After the end of the L6, it's the beginning of the end of the RWD at BMW.

The FWD when it will be generalised on the 1 series platform, could represent a large part of the sales volume of BMW.

I'm (was?) a fan of the BMW.

And days after days its soul disappears.

It will remain efficient cars, the badge, but the magic will not exist anymore.
BMW will become Audi, with less quality.

7 June 2012

no I don't think so,  Mercedes have been running fwd platforms along side rwd for a while since the advent of the A class. It just makes sense for a small car to be driven from the front and BMW are just following suit rather belatedly 

7 June 2012

Sorry sars but I do think so, even if only for me.

I bought my 1 Series (to replace a 3 Series Compact) precisely because it is RWD - nobody offered anything RWD on a car of this size except the undeveloped CLC with the old range of engines (why is the 220d the old version with no 250 Cdi option)? And as a former 280E, 190E and C280 owner I would not contemplate an A or B class - they are surely just overgrown Smarts.

Looks like my next car will have to be an RWD 1 Series while they still make them, or a Toyobaru Coupe.

And why does it make sense for a small car to be driven from the front - if Audi can squeeze 4WD into them there is surely room for a RWD drivetrain? I used to have a MkII Escort RS 2000 - it was smaller than most of these but still RWD, and was a brilliant driving experience.

I think it is more about making the effort which I would like at least one manufacturer to do, which until now was what gave BMW their Unique Selling Point.

Mind you at the end of the day they probably do not care so long as it sells in sufficient numbers!


8 June 2012


Growing up in the 1980's Bavarian Motor Works represented all that was right in the world. Superb disciplined unmistakeable design, Made in Germany, Rear Wheel Drive, Turbine smooth inline six-cylinder engines and model designations that logically described the vehicle e.g. 325i. Where the English speaking world was slowly losing the plot with marketing-hyped consumer clinic’d product engineering, BMW led the charge.


By the early 90’s I was in university and my parents purchased both an E36 BMW325 and an M3. BMW had no greater fan than I.


Over the last 15 years I have suffered Bangle design, the spreading virus of four-pot engines, made in USA/Thailand/China, The ‘M’ badges now standing for Marketing and not Motorsport, low-end hatchbacks and now finally FWD (isn’t that what Mini is for?)


RIP The BMW we knew. Hello BMW the General Motors of Premium.

My currently Germanic garage is Mercedes, BMW & KTM but In the future it will be Jaguar, Range Rover, Triumph & Norton. Whilst sadly all good things must come to end, fortunately everything that is old is new again.


[ I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die. ]

24 August 2013

I didn’t expect a front wheel drive BMW. It will feel awkward I think since they were born to be rear wheel drive. But the good thing about this will be the price, of course, and it can easily be repaired if there are usual car problems. There should be a lot of BMW DIY Tips after the release of this car.


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