Good News: BMW’s R&D Boss Wants the 1 Series to Remain RWD

BMW 1 Series Facelift 1 photo
Photo: Florin Profir
 In an unexpected turn of events, the current Research and Development chief from BMW stated in a recent interview that he wants the 1 Series to remain rear-wheel drive. That’s great news for every fan of the brand out there.
We recently had the chance to review the latest version of the 1 Series Hatch and we can solemnly swear that even in its most basic configurations, the rear-wheel drive layout transforms it into an extremely enjoyable ride. You can have a lot of fun aboard this model, without even pushing it to the limit.

And that’s the one true advantage the 1 Series has over its competitors. Everyone out there is using front-wheel drive layouts and even if they come out with all-wheel drive options, they are still FWD biased. Sure, the space might be a problem but there’s a solution to that, as Mr. Frolich clearly states:

"If rear drive, we would lose advantages of luggage space," he says. "But if one sort of customer wants space, he can get the [FWD minivan-esque] 2 Series Active Tourer. The 1 Series is about conquest sales, so it has to be a true BMW. We don't have to decide until the end of this year."

That’s exactly what we wanted to hear. If there’s one person out there that wants a front-wheel drive BMW that offers plenty of space in a compact size, the 2 Series Active Tourer is the perfect choice. Another interesting thing to note is the fact that the decision hasn’t been made yet.

Contrary to our info that seemed to show that there’s no escape for the 1 Series, it looks like there might still be hope and its name is Klaus. It looks to us like he’s trying to convince the board to keep the 1 Series RWD, despite the fact that modularity is what BMW is focusing on right now.

That means that in the future, only two architectures will be used and we’re starting to see the first cars based on them. There’s the UKL platform that will be used for front-wheel drive models with transverse engines. That goes from the X1 to the Mini range and it was rumored to include the 1 Series and 2 Series models too. As we can see now, it looks like they might be saved.

The second platform is CLAR (from Cluster Architecture) and that will be used for all other cars, from the X1 and 3 Series up. They are all RWD and have longitudinally mounted engines for better driving dynamics. The G11 7 Series is the first model to use it and things are looking good considering how much weight it lost.

So yes, modularity is important for BMW, as we can also see from the new engine line-up that is comprised of plants that can share up to 40 percent of the parts in between petrol and diesel variants. It seems like this cost cutting approach won’t make them sell their soul though, and that’s going to be appreciated.

In the same interview, our man also said a couple of interesting things about the collaboration with Toyota and the one thing that caught our attention was the fact that he seems determined in achieving exactly what he wants.

In that regard, it seems like the new Z4 will be based on this collaboration and this is the first time we’re hearing an official actually talking about it.

"I know what I want: a really sharp, sporty Z4 successor," he says. "I want to make this happen. And I know the elements it must use."

That sounds like a man that knows what we want and how to get it. Things are looking good!
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