Ready to be confused? In September at the Paris Motor Show, BMW is set to introduce a front-wheel-drive 1 Series hatchback that will be reportedly be sold with a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine starting for the 2014 model year.
There are two things baffling about that: 1) BMW will also be selling a rear-wheel-drive car also called the 1 Series at the same time, and 2) when did a company that made an advertisement like this:
decide that it wanted to make front-wheel-drive cars?
To answer the first part, BMW will continue selling its 1 Series hatchback currently on sale in Europe with its name unchanged. It will likely add a rear-wheel-drive subcompact sedan over the next few years with the same name. However, the new car, codenamed UKL—unterklasse, or sub-class—will complement the lineup with more economical, space-efficient city cars that BMW currently lacks.
To answer the second question, the new 1 Series model will share its platform with the next-generation Mini Cooper. This will likely spread costs to plenty more cars sold, making all of the entry-level vehicles more profitable for BMW. With the 1 Series moving to a more space-efficient front-wheel-drive layout, it will also help BMW compete more directly with the Mercedes-Benz B-Class that is set to hit Stateside next year.