BMW 1 Series GT on way

31 Jul, 2012 6:43pm Michael Taylor

More practical, front-wheel-drive BMW 1 Series GT is set to make its debut at the Paris Motor Show

BMW is preparing to break with tradition and launch its first-ever front-wheel-drive model at September’s Paris Motor Show.

Likely to be badged 1 Series GT, the newcomer – seen here in our exclusive images – will be based on the same platform as the next-generation MINI (on sale next year), and pitched as a more practical and cheaper-to-run alternative to the 1 Series hatch.

Dr Klaus Draeger, BMW board member and head of supply and purchasing, told Auto Express: “A front-wheel-drive BMW will definitely come. We have a lot of experience. We know how to make the car turn-in sharply to corners and we know how to tune the steering so that there isn’t much torque steer.” And when we asked him directly if there will be a new front-wheel-drive BMW at the Paris show, he said: “I am not going to contradict you!”

In order to differentiate the new car from both the existing 1 Series and the new MINI, BMW is planning to make this a more practical compact MPV-style model, in a similar mould to the Mercedes B-Class. The new platform is both lighter and slightly larger than the current MINI’s. It’s versatile, too, so the BMW will have an elevated driving position while MINI drivers will sit lower for a sportier feel.

Each marque will offer its front-drive models with three and four-cylinder engines in both petrol and diesel forms, but the BMW versions will always retain a power advantage. Even the company’s smallest 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbodiesel will boast 100bhp-plus.

A source revealed: “The car will have to fit with BMW’s traditions, which means it will still be fast with good handling – so 100bhp is a bare minimum. The MINI versions will be less powerful.”

The engines are all based around BMW’s modular system, which means the 1.5-litre petrols will share the same 500cc-per-cylinder unit as the 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinders. There will be 1.5-litre three-cylinder and 2.0 four-cylinder petrol engines, which will retain strong family ties to their rear-drive siblings, plus a 1.5 three-cylinder and a 2.0 four-cylinder turbodiesel.

Another difference between the BMW and the new MINI will be that the front-drive 1 Series will deliver its power through either a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic, while MINI will use a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto, sourced from ZF.

BMW is planning both hybrid and fully electric versions of the front-drive 1 Series, although neither will be available at the car’s launch next year.

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It shows the Germans can do interesting when it comes to small cars and is far better looking than the latest products from MINI

Presumably it will be even worse for ride comfort than the existing 1 series. Talk about a triumph of hype over engineering

Its the beginning of the end, will not automatically think about BMW next time round, not if they are going to start making cars like this.

Hahahahahahaha! Sorry but that is horrible. What a massive failure from BMW. It really is about time they started to think of the styling of their cars, its been terrible for the last 10-15 years and with this motor shows no sign of improving.

I'd rather have this than an Audi A1 that's for sure.

Intel tells me BMW will call this car the ugly 1

Yawn! Another variant of the 1 series. BMW should concentrate on the bland looks of the plain jane 1 series which is already in production.
Is this the BMW line up in a couple of years time.
1 series, 2 series, 3 series, 4 series, 5 series, 6 series, 7 series , 8 series, 9 series.
X1,X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, X8, X9
1 Series hatch, 2 series hatch, etc, etc.
BMW are trying to cater to every man and their dog, much like Fiat are doing by 'cocking up' the 500 model in too god knows how many variants.

I hope this is another AE mock-up, as the pictured car seems to share more with a KIA than any other BMW. I have no problem with FWD BMWs, after all Mercedes have had the A- and B-class cars for years and the MINI has shown that BMW can build a FWD car that handles. It's just that this looks too mainstream and has no desirability factor beyond the badge.

BMW released pictures of a styling exercise for this car in 2010. (see it in google images - BMW 0 series)
It was lean purposeful and very good looking.
I was waiting to buy one.
Now the actuality is seen to be a dumpy blob. I could cry.
A1 it is then.

Looks like only a mother could love.