To everyone who becomes apoplectic with rage when they heard the words “front-wheel-drive” applied to a BMW, stop it. Right now. This is something that we need here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. and here’s why.
This is the BMW 1 Series Sedan and it will only be sold in China. Which means that we’ll never see it, except in pictures. It is based on the BMW Concept Compact Sedan and rides on the FWD Mini platform, just like the new BMW X1. It’s designed to compete with the other “bite-sized” sedans in the Asian market, like the Mercedes CLA-Class.
What I like most about this thing is the fact that it’s small. We need more small sedans. Sedans recently have just been getting so bloated that if you looked back only about 15 years, previous models are dwarfed by current examples. For example, the dimensions of a C-Class Mercedes from 2002 are as follows:
And the dimensions of a C-Class Mercedes from 2016:
Which puts the newest C-Class much closer in size to a comparable E-Class from the 2000s.
The 1 Series Sedan would occupy the space that the 3-Series would if it, too, didn’t undergo the same growth spurt that the Mercedes did. I like a RWD/AWD 3-Series BMW as much as anyone else does, but there’s also room in the market and on the streets for a smaller and zippy FWD BMW.
BMW’s press release doesn’t shed light on what kind of engine will power the 1 Series Sedan, but it’ll probably be a turbocharged four-banger. It won’t have the power of the straight-six engines, so it doesn’t need additional drivetrain loss by sending the power to the rear. Keep it up front, keep it real.
There’s also a certain glory in mashing your foot on the throttle of a FWD car and feeling the wheel jump about in your hands. Ask any Mazdaspeed owner.
It would also be easier on all of our wallets. We won’t get the 1 Series Sedan, but we’ll get a 2 Series Gran Coupe that will be more expensive than a 3 Series.
Just look at the thing. You can’t tell me that it isn’t handsome. It’s got clean lines and very understated design cues. And it doesn’t have that annoying headlight-joined-up-with-the-kidney-grille design that the 3 and 4 Series cars have.
If this BMW came to the States, I guarantee you people would buy it. Hell, I might even buy it.