An Early Look at BMW’s New Most Controversial Car

Doubts are being cast over the brand’s dedication to true all-out performance.

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BMW built its brand on being “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” and up until recently, that’s meant nothing but perfectly balanced rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive performance cars and SUVs. One could even argue BMW is one of the main reasons RWD is so closely associated with performance cars in the first place. Which is why Bimmer faithfuls and purists scoffed when the front-wheel-drive 1- and 2-Series cars were announced, saying the brand is dead or dying.

Recently, new spy shots of the 1-Series hatch have surfaced, and doubts are being cast over the brand’s dedication to true all-out performance, no matter the car.

The only reason BMW is making the FWD hatch is for cost and driving efficiency. Some say that’s selling out and letting the almighty dollar dictate the product lineup, thus “killing” the brand. But that may not necessarily be the case. The 1-Series hatch is slated to use the same underpinnings as the Mini lineup, and we all know how well those cars can handle — and not just for FWD cars, either. Elsewhere in the FWD hatchback market is the legendary Golf GTI, the Ford Focus ST.

So while power to the rear wheels is preferred for the bigger sports cars, powering the front wheels isn’t exactly a failed concept when it comes to small sport hatchbacks. It may be sacrilegious, but when the 2018 BMW 1-Series hits roads later this year, we should all give front-wheel-drive a chance.

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