Autobild reports next-gen BMW 1 Series and 2 Series will be front-wheel drive

Rumors | November 24th, 2015 by 48
BMW Concept Compact Sedan images 20 750x500

The latest edition of the Autobild reports on the next-generation BMW 1 Series Hatchback and 2 Series making the the switch from a rear-wheel drive …

The latest edition of the Autobild reports on the next-generation BMW 1 Series Hatchback and 2 Series making the the switch from a rear-wheel drive architecture to the new UKL front-wheel drive.

Earlier this year, Klaus Fröhlich is a member of the Board of Management for BMW AG, Development, said a decision on the platform of choice for the two family of cars will be made by the end of 2015. “The 1 Series is about conquest sales, so it has to be a true BMW, Fröhlich said. “We don’t have to decide until the end of this year.”

BMW Concept Compact Sedan images 18 750x531

BMW Concept Compact Sedan

But according to unnamed sources cited by Autobild, the decision has been made. While the 1 Series hatchback having its power sent to the front-wheels is somewhat of a logical step, the plan to move the successful and fun-to-drive 2 Series Coupe and Convertible to the same platform is highly controversial. Back in June, Fröhlich – according to Auto Motor und Sport – was advocating for the next iteration of the 2 Series sports models to be built on the company’s next-generation rear-wheel drive architecture which also supports the future 3,5,6 and 7 Series models. Initially called “35up”, the new RWD architecture was later relabeled as CLAR, short for Cluster Architecture.

READ THIS: Will a front-wheel drive BMW ever be accepted by fans?

Whether and why BMW has changed their mind is a big unknown at the moment, but the idea will likely be met with backlash from the BMW community.

BMW is already preparing a 1 Series Sedan based on the new front-wheel drive platform and the design exercise presented in China last week is more than appealing. Will it be equally fun to drive as a RWD BMW? The same platform – which underpins MINIs – would allow BMW to give enthusiasts a small, fun car for very low prices. Using this new platform could allow BMW to offer a true entry-level enthusiast’s car. But most enthusiasts wouldn’t want such a car due to its front-wheel drive nature. Will that stigma ever go away? Will BMW ever be able to produce a FWD-based performance car, or continue to make any FWD-based cars, without taking flak from enthusiasts?

Lots of questions with no answers – for now. And for now, let’s take these news with a big grain of salt.

48 responses to “Autobild reports next-gen BMW 1 Series and 2 Series will be front-wheel drive”

  1. Matt Stokes says:

    I think there’s been enough examples of great FWD cars over the years to demonstrate the potential for a fun drivers car with this layout…. whether or not that would be enough to persuade the BMW community it’s a good idea… I’m not so sure. Petrol-heads and driving enthusiasts might welcome it, but that’s not necessarily enough for the steadfast RWD types.

    • Icebreakerr says:

      new M2 wont be FWD like the 2 series coupe will stay RWD

    • lin says:

      “I think there’s been enough examples of great FWD cars over the years to demonstrate the potential for a fun drivers car with this layout….”

      Why focus on technology that has potential when we already have technology that’s incredible?

      • Matt Stokes says:

        The lack of boot space in my 1 series is not incredible, it’s a pain in the ass. This is why I say below that I understand the case for making the 1-er FWD.

        The case for a FWD 2-er can only be about cost – because it *should* be RWD. A sub CLAR/35up platform that only ends up being used on 1 model will make it very expensive. So, they use the existing small FWD/AWD UKL platform, which is cost effective because it will underpin 20 BMW and MINI models.

        Sucks, but that’s the way it could be. I’m sure I’ve read that the UKL could be engineered as RWD so there may be hope, but again, it’ll be about cost.

        Joint ventures (with the likes of Toyota) can help bring platform costs down, but then the enthusiast community gets up in arms and complains about that too!

        • lin says:

          I stopped reading after the complaint about lack of boot space in a 1 series. You bought a 1 series; you saw the boot of the car before you purchased it, you still signed the papers, and drove it home fully aware of what you purchased. You buy a small car you’re going to get a small boot, that’s not a fault on the part of RWD or BMW.

          • Matt Stokes says:

            The fact I chose to buy a 1 series in no way negates the fact that it does have an unusually small boot. Boot space was not the overriding factor in the buying decision, hence I live with it…

            Also, if you’re not going to bother reading other people’s opinions before commenting on them it pretty much destroys any credibility you have.

          • lin says:

            Shorten those two paragraphs to a couple short sentences and I’ll go ahead and read your reply.

  2. Max says:

    BMW, schlus mit fronantrieb du arschloch, ficke dich, du kondome!

  3. Max says:

    BMW, schlüs mit fronantrieb du arschloch, ficke dich, du kondome!

  4. Max says:

    was ist mit BMW los ?, Mein Gott.

  5. Max says:

    Let’s gather all the BMW fans, and revenge.

    Lassen Sie sammeln alle BMW-Fans, und Rache.

    Давайте соберемся все Фанаты БМВ, и отомстим. BMW Welt

  6. Max says:

    es notwendig ist, legen Sie auf, alle diejenigen, die BMW zu zerstören!

    it is necessary to hang up, all those who destroy BMW!

    надо повесить, всех тех кто уничтожает БМВ!

  7. Chris says:

    That Autobild and their “unnamed sources”… Crap as always! In the Autozeitung Interview with Harald Krüger, he said the 2 series Coupe will stay RWD because of the sportiness!

  8. jason bourne says:


  9. João Resende says:

    I highly doubt the 2 series will be fwd.

  10. Icebreakerr says:

    just because mercedes and audi did it doesnt mean you have to do it too BMW :( WE WANT RWD

  11. John says:

    Porsche is the new BMW. They don’t make a single bad car.

  12. FilipMPower says:

    The problem is that FWD can never reach the driving experience of RWD. It is not like hyraulic and electric steering, or NA and turbo engines. These can be finetuned so well that they are both as good. But FWD vs RWD is basic physics. A properly engineered FWD can never match a properly engineered RWD car. That is fact. The driving experience will always be better in the RWD (with maybe SOME exceptions…). And that is what annoys me. RWD is no marketing bs, it is basic physics. RWD is superior to FWD in driving experience.

    • Matt Stokes says:

      A properly engineered FWD car can still be good to drive though, and whilst I agree that RWD should be the default answer for a driver experience orientated car such as the 2-er.. when it comes to the 1-er, whose purpose is to be more practical, there is a very strong case for it to be a well engineered FWD car.

      • FilipMPower says:

        The issue is that the FWD 1 series is not special in any way, as anybody could buy the a class or a3 if they want a similar car, or the 2 series AT if they need more space. But, there is no competition towards the 1 series RWD as it is the only RWD hatch.

        • Matt Stokes says:

          People are not indifferent to the A-Class or A3 though, they still choose one or the other based on the other characteristics that define the car, just as they could choose a FWD BMW instead based on things other than the drivetrain. Drivetrain isn’t the ONLY thing people consider when buying a car like this, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it will be a bad car to drive.

          If the *only* thing a BMW has going for it, is that it’s RWD, then they’ve built a crap car.

          • FilipMPower says:

            Surely this wasn’t what I was implying here, sorry if it seemed so. What I meant to say is that people wont refrain from buying a BMW 1 series just because it is RWD and has a bit less space, because if they would require more space, they would buy the X1 or active tourer. I dont believe that BMW will sell more 1 series just because it will have a bit more boot and rear space. However the market which bought the 1 series just because of its RWD will be gone.

          • Matt Stokes says:

            No problem, for what it’s worth I don’t only agree with you in some places, but I am Proof too! I bought an E87, and the fact it is pretty hopeless at being a hatchback didn’t stop me, I’m glad it’s RWD. I still don’t think it will affect sales much though, how many buyers did it lose to poor reviews for practicality?, versus, how many did it gain for positive reviews of driving dynamics?… I guess that’s the question.

          • FilipMPower says:

            I see and definitely agree. I would still say to BMW, keep the RWD to please the market for it, but improve on other aspects which make it more desirable. Such as interior, or exterior design, or maybe even reliability! Or even more crazy, promote the BMW brand more by participating in F1, building a halo car etc. These points if properly done would make the 1 series have more customers than if they would just put in a transverse engine! But these are difficult solutions, so just making it more practical might be more appealing to BMWs bank account.

  13. Kaisuke971 says:

    Well… If there is rear wheel steering as an option of sports models (with or without AWD), it’s okay.

    • Senne says:

      I don’t think that is possible… would be way too expensive to make a FWD car and then make the sportiest ones RWD. It’s either RWD or either FWD :(

      • FilipMPower says:

        Well, rear wheel STEERING would be possible though, however very unlikely, basically wont happen. And it wouldn’t really help with anything including torque steer and bad corner balance.

        • Senne says:

          Right, didn’t read that comment very well, did I… and indeed wouldn’t solve much. Maybe a bit I don’t know.

        • Kaisuke971 says:

          Torque Steer ? It’s 2015 dude ain’t nobody got time for that. And Btw with the X1’s XDrive it won’t be an issue anymore. And in corners… Well you’ll understand when the new M4RS will come out and trash the (fake) Type R’s lap, because it will likely have a 300ish Hp engine, DCT and 4WS.

          My dad has a Laguna GT 4Control (4 wheel steering plus Renault Sport tweaked Chassis and suspensions, Bridgestone Potenza tires)), and i can tell you that electronically controlled rear wheel steering is one of the best things on the business right now. This is so well done that the rear actually moves (you feel it) to balance understeer, which is completely gone. GONE. The car feels FWD in a straight line but RWD in corners, really.

          Almost all sporty Porsche have it now (see the 918’s insane grip ? Thank 4WS for that. 911 Turbo S’ balling lap times ? 4WS again. GT3 RS’ insane go ? I already told you bro !). Even Ferrari has it on the F12 TdF. This is straight fire, absolutely insane: you can have a Midsize sedan with the turning radius of an A1 and the go of a Boxster in corners.

          BMW already uses that technology on most of their big sedans now, including the G1x 7 Series. I can see them adapting it to their FWD cars for improved handling, and i don’t see why they wouldn’t use it. With it, the cars will still be able to have the BMW feel on sporty versions. With XDrive, you will be surprised… i can already see an RS3 and CLA45 AMG Crusher incoming.

          Btw for the 1,2 Tourer and X1/X2 maybe but the 2 i think they should really keep it RWD.

          • FilipMPower says:

            X1s AWD system is haldex if im not mistaken, which still means that one halfshaft is shorter than the other, making torque steer happen, but only at the highest speeds.

            And dont get me wrong, Im pumped about 4WS, I wished the tech would trickle down already since 2008 back when the F01 was released. It is a great system. Faux torque vectoring is also amazing with brake actuation. Basically all what Porsche does, and I really love this type of driving tech. I just dont think it will be there in a FWD car from BMW soon. And that is because the tech has to trickle down to the other models first. The M cars aswell. I just cant wait for them to receive this tech. The FWD cars will receive it eventually though, but not this generation I fear.

            Fun fact: The F12 tdf has even wider front tires than the F12 but standard rear tires, which make the car oversteer so much at the limit, but through the 4WS it can negate that understeer,

          • Kaisuke971 says:

            As far as i know torque steer is not that much of an issue for modern sport cars, at least not much more than Power Steering. I don’t hear journalist complain about it on the Type R, and it has quite a lot of torque going to its front wheels only.

            Max power these cars will have is around 250hp and max torque should be 400nm. I really don’t think this will be that much of an issue at all, on the FWD let alone XDrive models (and i think it will get standard on the top end versions). We’ll see for this gen, and if there is something they have around 5 years or something to fix it, until the new 1 arrives.

            The thing is we are not talking about this generation, but the next one. 2 just came out and an eventual Gran Coupe is yet to come, so we’re not talking about tomorrow, but as i said at least 5 years. Also don’t forget you can’t just put Rear wheel Steering but have to “prepare” the chassis for it. BMW realized it not so long ago, they still have to wait for a decent amount of positive feedback, and the option is not very popular i guess, maybe it will really get on this one, as lots of manufacturers start to use it.

            Back in 2008 (if that’s when it came out at Bimmer) there was basically the Laguna and that’s about it, i’m not even sure the Turbo used it back then. Today is a totally different story, it’s getting really popular now that the fastest road car around a track right now has it.

            I don’t think that’s far from possible to see it on the next gen. BMW could adapt its platform and generalize it both on the low end BMWs and Mini. On an M Car i don’t know, on the 3 neither (not that useful actually, just a big +), but i think it would be a great move to make it like standard on Sport Trims or whatever.

  14. Senne says:

    NOOOOOO!!! This can’t be true!! 2 Series FWD??? Really can’t be! What about M235i and M2??? FWD I don’t think so! They would never do that! What’s the point of a small coupe with a big boot and a lot of place in the back? I really, really hope this isn’t true. What a nightmare!

  15. John D says:

    Try to imagine what an FWD e30 could have been, but i can’t…

  16. FilipMPower says:

    My point is that you can make a fun FWD car, or even Haldex car. You can as the Golf R is often praised as fun, and so is the Civic type R. But it is mostly fun in the wrong ways. A BMW is supposed to be a scalpel, sharp and pointy, while these FWD cars drive more like street rally cars, crazy and flicking the car into corners. And that is the problem.

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