BMW is going front-wheel drive with their next-generation BMW 1 Series, making the F20/F21 1 Series the last of its kind. While fans are mooting the dismissal of a rear-wheel drive hatchback, the German automaker has its eyes on the competition, especially with the new BMW M135i xDrive.
The new 1 Series will ride on the all-new FAAR (Frontantriebsarchitektur in German) platform designed for front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive models. The new architecture that builds upon the UKL platform’s agile handling with improved packaging.
BMW claims that rear legroom has increased by a massive 33 mm while rear headroom has grown by 19 mm. Boot space is also now up 20 litres to 380 litres, besting the A-Klasse’s boot by 10 litres.
At launch, the M135i xDrive will sit at the top of the 1 Series range, packing a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol making 306 hp. With the xDrive all-wheel-drive system on board, it seems that the M135i is looking to give the new Mercedes-AMG A 35 4MATIC hatch a good run for its money.
Head of Driving Dynamics at BMW Group, Peter Langen said: “Our customers will directly feel the fast and precise responsiveness that provides for an optimised driving experience. The BMW 1 Series will be a genuine BMW with an individual character.”
The engineers have employed the help of trick electronic systems to give the 1 Series a more direct handling response with ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation) – which in layman terms, a very clever traction control system – BMW Performance Control (torque vectoring) and additional “boomerang strut” on the rear axles.
BMW M135i xDrive Testing in France