When fans heard BMW was switching the 1 Series over to a front-wheel drive platform for the Chinese market, they went a bit crazy. BMW making a front-wheel drive sedan instead of the brilliant rear-wheel drive hatchback we’ve all come to love? Heresy. Despite the pitchfork-wielding fans, BMW went ahead with the FWD 1 Series sedan anyway.
Although only of the Chinese market, the 1 Series sedan should help BMW in the segment currently dominated by the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA Class. One of the things BMW was going to need to do with the 1 Series sedan was make it good looking. That sounds obvious, but the CLA Class and Audi A3 are both handsome and premium looking sedans, so the 1 Series is going to need to compete.
Some spy shots have just surfaced showing the 1 Series sedan without any camouflage and it looks…okay. It’s proportioned well, handsome and sporty looking, even with its front-wheel drive layout. It’s got big, chunky kidney grilles, headlights and taillights that look right on this car. It’s not pretty, but it’s handsome enough and charming in an affordable sport sedan sort of way. Though, it’s just not as stylish as the Mercedes CLA or as premium as the newly refreshed Audi A3, but it’s a good looking little car. I do fear that it doesn’t look like a BMW, though. You could probably swap out the grill and put a Subaru badge on it and it might look at home.
The interior is familiar for BMW fans, though. It’s very similar to the current crop of front-wheel drive BMWs, such as the BMW X1 and 2 Series Tourers. It’s just been sedan-ized. For this price point and in this class, the interior is perfectly adequate and good looking.
While this current 1 Series sedan would probably do well in the North American market, as all affordable cars with premium brands do, regardless of quality, I don’t think we want it here. It just doesn’t seem BMW-y enough.