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BMW 1 Series Goes FWD

After two generations of rear-wheel drive, BMW’s entry-level 1 Series becomes front-wheel-drive with the rollout of its third generation. According to the German carmaker, this allows for more cabin space in the small hatchback class, especially for the rear passenger section of the vehicle.

While previous generations came in both sedan and hatchback configurations, the latest BMW 1 Series is only available in hatchback form. It’s a hair shorter than the outgoing version, but the rear cabin manages to be 1.3 inches longer as a result of the FWD conversion. The 1 Series also offers the xDrive all-wheel drive option for some of its models.

The third gen BMW 1 Series boasts five powerplants in all–two gasoline and three diesel–with power ranging from 114 to 302 hp. The gas engines bookend the range, starting with the lowest trim 118i (1.5-liter, 3-cylinder turbo) and ending with the top-of-the-line M135i xDrive (2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo). Six-speed manual transmissions are available for the basic trims, while higher end models come with either a seven- or eight-speed Steptronic gearbox.

According to BMW, the five trims mentioned are just the opening salvo for the 1 Series, with multiple sport packages and a fully electric version said to be forthcoming.

Sales for the BMW 1-Series start in September, but no word yet on when it will reach local shores.

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