While the current BMW M140i might be considered a fan favorite by many BMW enthusiasts, the next-generation model might not receive as much love. In fact, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the next 1 Series hatch is going to be far less loved than the current car and that’s entirely down to its drivertrain. While the current 1 Series hatch is rear-wheel drive, making it a unicorn in the segment, the next one will join its competitors and become front-wheel drive. Once that happens, many enthusiasts will (wrongly) disown it. However, for the fans that are already crying “heresy” at the next FWD 1er, this video might change your tune.
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Seen here in this new spy video from Automotive Mike, the upcoming BMW M135i gets in some hot laps at the Nurburgring. Is it as sexy as an 8 Series or as thrilling as an M2? Of course not but it actually looks like fun. Its engine, which will be a turbocharged four-pot making over 300 hp (though we’re hoping for more) actually sounds pretty good for a turbo-four. It sounds growly and angry, like a proper hot-hatch should. Is it as silky and sonorous as the current car’s B58 3.0 liter I6? No but it’s not half bad.
It also looks pretty quick and seems agile, turning in sharply and holding its line well. While we’re obviously not behind the wheel and we can’t what the driver is feeling, it doesn’t seem to understeer much at all, which is a positive sign for a front-drive-based hot-hatch. Now, it will come with xDrive all-wheel drive as-standard, so that’s likely helping to mitigate understeer by shunting most of the power rearward. Still, it’s impressive.
Having spent a good bit of time in the BMW X1 and X2, I can personally say that I’m excited and optimistic for this new 1 Series hatchback. BMW seems to know a thing or two about making a good front-wheel drive chassis, despite not having much practice, as the X2 is far more fun to drive than previously anticipated.