Thus far, the world leader in premium luxury cars, German automaker BMW, has been synonymous with a rear wheel drive layout, said to be a key factor for the excellent handling dynamics BMW cars are world renowned for. In the second half of 2012 though, everything could change. At the 2012 Paris Motor Show, BMW plan to unveil an entry level car with a front wheel drive layout. The BMW 1 Series GT hatchback could be the first Beemer to come with a front wheel drive layout, of course, this after discounting the BMW owned Mini brand of sporty hatchbacks.
The BMW 1 Series GT will rival the likes of the Mercedes Benz A-Class and the Audi A3 hatchbacks, to form BMW’s entry level offering. The usage of the front wheel drive architecture is to cut costs, save weight and make the car much more fuel efficient. Also, production costs of the new front wheel drive range of cars from BMW could go down as the automaker is expected to share parts and production facilities with Mini’s range of sporty cars. All this is expected to translate into an entry level car range from BMW, one which will attract a new segment of younger buyers into the German luxury car maker’s fold.
While BMW purists might still crinkle up their noses at the very mention of front wheel drive on a BMW, there’s no reason why BMW cannot retain the “joy of driving” dynamics with a front wheel driven layout considering that the brand makes some very sporty and taut handling cars in the form of the Mini range, all of which feature a front wheel driven layout. The engine options on the BMW 1-Series are expected to be turbo driven; A 1.5 Liter, three cylinder turbo petrol engine and a 1.5 Liter, 3 pot turbo diesel unit could be in the scheme of things.
Both these engines, while delivering good performance will also be highly fuel efficient, when combined with the front wheel drive layout. In the coming years, the 1-Series platform will spawn a range of body styles to suit various markets that BMW operates in across the world. A 1-series sedan is what markets like India can expect to get as BMW’s entry level offering although the hatchback variant too cannot be ruled out of the product mix. Whatever be the case, BMW’s 1-series range will result in an all new line up of affordable cars bearing the propellor on the hood signage.