Big Motoring World reviews the future of one of the most popular cars in the UK, the BMW 1 Series and considers whether it would be the right decision to stick with rear-wheel drive.
The car ranked as the UK’s ninth best-selling car in 2013 and is renowned for its rear-wheel drive. And this could be the blueprint for the future, with the German giants now unlikely to revert back to the more conventional hatchback layout.
What’s the difference?
Reports last year had suggested a return to the predominantly front-wheel drive of a hatchback, but the 1 Series sends its power to the rear wheels – setting it apart from its competitors. The main advantage of the 1 Series design is that you do not feel the steering wheel being tugged around in your hands when you accelerate hard. As a result, you can control and place the car on the road with greater precision and accuracy.
Despite much speculation that the next 1 Series would ride on the FWD-based UKL platform, the next generation of 1 Series look set to remain a rear-wheel drive based hatchback rather than changing back to the forward-wheel drive which has been typical of the previous BMW 1 Series models.
All of this depends on whether BMW AG Board Member Klaus Froehlich gets his own way. He’s expressed his interest in keeping the BMW 1 Series a rear-wheel drive so that BMW enthusiasts can enjoy the characteristics of a true BMW in a volume-selling package.
Klaus Froehlich told MotoTrend that the 1Series provides a much more enjoyable drive with its exceptional agility and control through the tightest of bends. If BMW does listen Frölich, expect the 2018 BMW 1 Series to ride on a shortened-version of the CLAR platform. It features carbon fibre reinforced plastic in its body construction, which significantly decreases the weight of the car and increases fuel efficiency.
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