BMW F52 1 Series Sedan Rendered: Will It Be FWD or RWD?

Automotive manipulator, Theophilus Chin, rendered the BMW 1 Series Sedan last week and we were too busy to tell you all about it, with the new MINI Clubman and all. However, taking a closer look at it, one question does raise to our minds: will it be FWD or RWD?
BMW F52 1 Series Sedan Rendering 1 photo
Photo: theophilus chin
If you would’ve asked us that question two weeks ago, the answer would’ve been absolutely crystal clear: front-wheel drive! That’s because all signs pointed that way.

The car was scheduled to be built atop the UKL platform which is shared with the MINI range and other cars like the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, Gran Tourer, new X1 and so on. We also saw early prototypes of it out testing the chassis and powertrains but we couldn’t tell for sure if they were FWD or not, in all honesty.

However, things changed after we read an interview by Klaus Frolich, the chief of development at BMW in which he said that he wants to retain the rear-wheel drive layout of the 1 Series as it’s the one trait that makes it different in the segment/niche. And he’s absolutely right.

The 1 Series (no matter if in hatch or sedan guise) would go up against the likes of the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class/CLA-Class, both of them using front-wheel drive chassis. Even in all-wheel drive guise they would still be far behind the 1er in terms of driving dynamics if the current layout is kept along.

Another interesting fact we noticed is that prototypes of the sedan version have seemingly disappeared from public roads or the Nurburgring a couple of months ago, possibly hinting at a pause in their development. The last time we saw one out testing was back in April.

Sure, there are arguments for the migration to a FWD version and those are mostly economical in nature. It would be a lot cheaper and easier to build the cars, the modularity would be extremely high while customers would get a lot more interior space. But what about offering the market something nobody else does? At the moment, the 1 Series is the only hatchback in the world that has a rear-wheel drive layout and whether BMW admits it or not, we’re pretty sure it has something to do with its huge sales figures.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram Twitter

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories