Rumors and news around the next generation BMW 1 Series have been floating around for months now and the recently unveiled 1er hatchback shed some light on the direction BMW is heading towards. But there are several other unknowns, including the front-wheel drive offerings that will join the premium compact family.
Autocar UK issues a new report today mentioning six 1 Series variants across two distinct platform.
The second-generation BMW 1-series will eventually evolve into six different body variants on two distinctly different platforms. This variety will broaden the line-up against increased competition from the third-generation Audi A3, new Mercedes-Benz A-class and the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf — all due out next year.
BMW 1 Series GT – FWD platform
As we reported several times before, BMW plans to introduce a Gran Turismo variant of the 1 Series. Recent spy photos confirmed that the car is past the design table and onto the roads where test engineers iron out the technical kinks. The 1 Series Gran Turismo, also known internally as Compact Activity Tourer, will be one of the first front-wheel drive vehicles from BMW. Design wise, the 1er GT follows the steps of the 5 Series GT niche model and also the future 3 Series GT. The design lines are a mixture of a 5 door hatchback and a touring model. Rear legroom is said to be on par with the new 5 Series sedan.
1 GT will be 2 inches (5cm) longer than the 3-door and 5-door models, but it will sport an unique front-end. To reflect the Gran Turismo design, the 1 GT will have an elevated driving position, as seen in the 5 Gran Turismo.
The car is due out in 2013 and according to the UK magazine, will pave the way for the third-generation 1 Series range in 2018, which will see the bulk of body styles switching to a front-wheel drive set-up.
2011/12 – Five-door and three-door hatches – RWD platform
No surprise here. BMW recently showed us the so-far controversial 1er hatch with the rear-wheel drive setup and a future xDrive system. The five-door model launches this fall in Europe, followed by the three-door version in early 2012.
2013 – Coupe and Cabriolet – RWD platform and future 2 Series family
Again, no surprise here as well. We confirmed via several of our sources and trademark filings that the 1er Coupe and convertible will be renamed as 2 Series and will continue to sport the rear-wheel drive platform.
The rear-drive 2 Series models will differ from the 1-series hatchbacks by offering new turbocharged 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engines, with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The 2 Series will be aimed primarily at the US market.
2014 1 Series Estate – FWD platform
Not many information on this model, but we believe this is the BMW Advanced Family Activity Sports Tourer. With AFAST, short for Advanced Family Sports Activity Tourer, BMW’s ideas are to reinterpret the concept of a van to be more car-like, but without compromising space, flexibility and driving dynamics.
Apparently the BMW AFAST goes to the design table as demanded by customers who want a more premium offering which still fulfills their requirements around a van, but maintains the BMW values. Same insider says this segment will grow to 65% by 2015.
2018/2019 – Third-generation 1 Series goes front-wheel drive
Autocar says Munich planners intend to switch the bulk of 1 Series to front-wheel drive for the third-gen model. The exceptions will be the coupé, cabrio and a new sedan, the first time a three-box four-door will feature in the 1 Series line-up.
These models will continue to use a rear-wheel drive platform because the bulk of sales will be in the US, but also to maintain the BMW core values. BMW’s new compact sedan will rival the Audi A3 sedan, the new front-drive Mercedes CC 4dr and VW Jetta.