By now, nearly all BMW fans know that the Bavarians will be switching the beloved 1 Series Hatchback from its current rear-wheel drive chassis to the same UKL-based front-wheel drive chassis that underpins all MINIs and the BMW X1. This has almost every BMW fan upset, as the current 1er Hatch is one of the most fun BMWs on the road and the only rear-wheel drive hatch on the market. So not only is it great to drive, but it’s sort of a unicorn as well. However, the next 1 Series Hatch will be joining the ranks of the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class, powering its front wheels as standard. We get a good look at it, albeit through very heavy camouflage, in these new spy photos. (We don’t own them but they can be seen here.)
So far, all of BMW’s new designs have been quite nice. While some may be considered to be dull, like the new 5 Series, most of BMW’s more modern designs have actually been good looking. And I’m personally a big fan of the new BMW X1, despite its switch to front-wheel drive. So I previously had high hopes for the upcoming 1 Series Hatch, knowing that it will be fun to drive, regardless of which wheels it drives.
However, this car doesn’t look promising. Admittedly, we can only see it through very heavy camo, so we can’t really make out many details. But its profile and overall shape are discouraging, to be honest. If we didn’t know this was a BMW, we’d never guess that it was. It looks like every other front-wheel drive hatchback on the road, German, Japanese, American or otherwise. This car will blend into the crowd unlike any BMW before and that’s disappointing.
If you look at it from the side, in pure profile view, it could be a Mazda 3 hatch, a Mercedes-Benz A-Class or a Chevy Cruze hatch. At least through the camo, there doesn’t even seem to be BMW’s signature Hofmeister Kink. Hopefully, it’s just the camo hiding that.
Now, my brain knows that this will be a good car. It will drive well, thanks to the UKL architecture being very capable of putting out a great driving car, it will be affordable and it will have all the tech, performance and practicality one could ask from a hatchback in this segment. But it looks like it will completely lack BMW’s typical character, the sort of character that we’ve come to love. Not every BMW looks great but, at least for the most part, every BMW looks like a BMW. This one could be a Toyota Yaris and we wouldn’t know without looking at the grille.