BMW 1 Series GT on way

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.

Recommended

BMW 1 Series review
BMW 118i - front tracking
BMW 1 Series

BMW 1 Series review

The BMW 1 Series is one of the best premium hatchbacks on sale, offering a combination of performance, efficiency and driver thrills
21 Oct 2021
BMW M135i xDrive updated for 2022 with chassis tweaks
BMW M135i xDrive - front
BMW 1 Series

BMW M135i xDrive updated for 2022 with chassis tweaks

BMW says its revisions have made the M135i even sharper to drive – and there’s a new enhanced driving sound for the car’s stereo
20 Oct 2021
Paris Motor Show returns for 2022 after four-year hiatus
Paris motor show 2022
Coming soon

Paris Motor Show returns for 2022 after four-year hiatus

Last year’s Paris Motor Show was cancelled due to Covid-19, but the event’s organisers will welcome attendees through its doors next year
20 Jul 2021
BMW 128ti vs Volkswagen Golf GTI
BMW 128ti vs Volkswagen Golf GTI
Car group tests

BMW 128ti vs Volkswagen Golf GTI

The new BMW 128ti goes up against the latest iteration of the car that kicked off the hatch segment - the Volkswagen Golf GTI
27 Feb 2021

Most Popular

UK petrol and diesel prices: petrol stations urged to make price cuts
Kia Niro long-term - petrol station
News

UK petrol and diesel prices: petrol stations urged to make price cuts

Retailers are pocketing bigger margins on petrol and diesel, instead of passing on the 12p per litre oil price cut
30 Nov 2021
New seven-seat Dacia Jogger priced from £14,995
Dacia Jogger - Munich front
Dacia Jogger

New seven-seat Dacia Jogger priced from £14,995

Pre-orders open for the new Dacia Jogger ahead of 2022 deliveries, and low prices make it Britain’s cheapest seven-seater
1 Dec 2021
Next-gen Volkswagens to get smarter and more comfortable
Volkswagen tech
Volkswagen

Next-gen Volkswagens to get smarter and more comfortable

Volkswagen is working on a host of new technology, including fly-by-wire steering, a driver-facing interior camera and an intelligent chassis
30 Nov 2021