BMW reveals new details for front-wheel drive 1 Series, 306 horsepower coming

We aren’t expecting to get this 1 Series hatchback in America, but we will be getting the
2 Series twin that will spawn from it. That makes these new tidbits
BMW is dribbling out on the new
car worth our while, because the tech will most likely transfer right on over to the car we’re going to get. As a reminder, the most dramatic change to this BMW is that it’s going to be a
front-wheel-drive-based car now, at least for the
Gran Coupe coming our way.

To start, BMW is packing a strong turbocharged four-cylinder engine into the M135i xDrive model, delivering a BMW-best 306 horsepower. This engine can be found in the
X2 M35i making the same horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. BMW pairs this engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission there, but we hope to see a manual option for the 2 Series. This is no replacement for the raucous M240i that makes 335 horsepower from its inline-six, but at least BMW is still giving us a performance variant. Rumor has it that the new 2 Series Gran Coupe in the U.S. will be all-wheel drive, so torque steer shouldn’t be an issue.

BMW says not to worry about handling, either, because it’s using the ARB (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation) tech from the
i3s. This wheel slip control system is mounted in the engine control unit, which allows information to travel faster than before. The benefit is further limiting of power understeer felt in front-wheel-drive cars. We’ll see if BMW decides to implement this tech on the 2 Series, but our guess for now is yes.

The transition to a front-drive setup is largely a move to increase interior space. BMW claims the 1 Series will have a much lower center tunnel, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 0.75 inch more headroom. Trunk space has been modestly increased by 0.7 cubic foot. We can’t expect to see the exact same changes from the bodystyle coming stateside (Gran Coupe), but do expect more space when it does finally get revealed at the
Los Angeles Auto Show this fall.

Nothing is confirmed yet, but a rear-drive 2 Series coupe is
still rumored to continue on in the BMW lineup. So while the mass market car may turn front-wheel drive, cars like the
M2 or a potential
M2 Gran Coupe are going to keep their tail-wagging personalities.

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