We’ve known for some time now that the next-gen BMW 1 Series will be making the switch to front-wheel drive. It’s something that has upset much of the fanbase, as front-wheel drive is essentially the devil in the eyes of many BMW fans. However, there is cause for hope, with the new 1er and that lies in the BMW M140i, the M Performance version of the 1 Series and the one that will likely restore some faith from BMW fans. It’s also just recently been caught testing at the Nurburgring and it looks promising.

In this new spy video, we get to see the BMW M140i lapping the famed Green Hell and it does so with some enthusiasm. While it’s not going to be an overly quick car, as it will be powered by a punchy turbo four-cylinder, it certainly looks quick enough, especially out of corners. Despite being front-wheel drive-based, the M140i looks to have impressive grip and doesn’t seem to understeer much at all. For those of you who fear that a front-wheel drive hatchback is only going to disappoint, look no further than the Volkswagen GTI, which is one of the most fun cars on the road.

Next-Gen BMW 1 Series

We also get to hear a little bit of the M140i’s exhaust. Despite having just a little four-pot, it sounds quite good. There’s an angry buzziness to the way it sounds and it makes little pops on upshifts that sound fun. It’s no wailing inline-six, of course, but it sounds exciting enough to be fun and that’s really all that matters in a hot hatch.

While most BMW enthusiasts will be angry at the fact that the next BMW M140i went front-wheel drive, we’re actually excited about the new 1er. Being front-wheel drive will only make it easier and cheaper for BMW to make it, as it will be built on the same platform that underpins the X2, and it will also give it some extra interior space. Plus, after having driven the X2, we can confidently say that BMW knows full well how to make a fun-to-drive front-wheel drive-based car.