What is it?
The BMW 1 Series is going front-wheel drive in 2018, when the third-generation model is launched. But in China, that’s already happened; the 1 Series saloon built and sold in that country as part of a joint venture with Brilliance is blazing a trail for the front-wheel-drive 1 Series.
This then, is a flavour of what to expect in Europe from next year, because BMW will not sell the 1 Series saloon in Europe however nicely you might ask through fear of stealing sales from the more profitable 3 Series saloon.
The 1 Series saloon’s UKL underpinnings are shared with the 2 Series Active and Gran Tourer models, as well as the current Mini line-up. So its chassis is a known quantity, as are the purely petrol turbo engines in the range, including the three-cylinder 1.5 in the 148bhp 118i and the four-cylinder 2.0 in the 189bhp 120i and 228bhp 125i we’re testing here.