Autocar UK renders the future BMW front-wheel drive vehicle. They refer to the car as a 1 Series model, but based on information from our sources, the naming convention has yet to be established.
BMW refers to the new front-wheel drive family as the UKL Sub-Compact, a small stylish city car sharing a platform with the next generation MINI.
The new cars will be aimed at the Audi A3 and will provide versatility and high fuel efficiency, part due to the new three-cylinder engines.
Based on a new front-wheel drive platform and aluminium-intensive chassis, the new entry-level BMW models will be a traditional five-door hatchback and a sporting estate. They are scheduled to begin arriving in Europe in September 2013.
The 1 Series family continues to included a three-door hatchback, a five-door hatchback, a coupé and a cabriolet, all with rear-wheel drive.
According to the same magazine, design-wise, the UKL is quite different from the second-generation rear-drive 1 Series that will make its world debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2011. The primary difference between the two is that the front-drive car has its engine mounted transversely under a comparatively short bonnet rather than longitudinally under a typically long bonnet.
With drive being sent to the front wheels rather than channelled via a propshaft to the rear wheels, the layout has given BMW’s designers the freedom to dispense with the transmission tunnel running back through the interior. This should increase the amount of available space, especially in the rear.
Also, the new layout has also allowed BMW to rethink the car’s proportions, with the front bulkhead and A-pillars being brought further forward. This will increase the volume of the cabin to a level comparable with Europe’s best-seller, the Volkswagen Golf, and the Audi A3.
The front of the car gets a smaller twin kidney grille, again more three-dimensional as the front of the car allows the grille to be pushed further back.
At the rear of the car, the light units faired inwards with the body covering over the top parts of the units. A glass area wraps around, but leaves a reasonable typical BMW C-Pillar. The shape of the glasshouse is dictated by the shape of the roof allowing a slope line.
The new three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, known under the codenames N37 and N38, are set to be 1.5 liter in size. They have been designed in a modular nature and will share components with the BMW’s traditional 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.
It is rumored that new 2.0 liter four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will be available as well. These engines will use a new common 500cc per cylinder base design which also uses Direct-Injection and Turbo charging.