And so, the era of front-wheel drive BMW vehicles will be previewed this year. It is starting off small, and hopefully it stays that way. Autocar reports that BMW is readying the 1-Series Gran Turismo for a concept debut at the Paris Motor Show. The production debut is said to follow in 2014. Under the hood will be a 1.4-liter turbocharged three-cylinder. Why this isn’t just called a MINI beats us.
BMW has put a big focus on the MINI brand, due to its ability to boost sales is the premium small car sector. In fact, the 2014 MINI is rumored to have a five-door hatchback variation similar to the GT. In the United States and around the world we expect the five-door to grow the brand thanks to added practicality. Originally, MINI was considered by BMW as a way to compete in this segment without compromising the BMW brand. Why couldn’t they just leave it at that?
Apparently, the sales available in the entry-level segment versus Mercedes-Benz (A- and B-Class) are just too big to ignore. BMW has a larger brand appeal than MINI. Thus, the 1-Series Gran Turismo is born, and it will share a platform with the next-generation MINI. The good thing is that FWD appears to be contained to the GT model.
The best news we’ve heard recently regarding BMW has been that a small, rear-wheel drive 1-Series sedan is being developed. As a real BMW, that makes the introduction of a front-wheel drive BMW a bit less painful. Historically, Mercedes-Benz has kept the A-Class and B-Class to the European market. It appears that the A-Class may be sold here though, along with the CSC (or CLA) small front-wheel drive sedan being confirmed. It’s likely that the 1-Series GT will be brought over here to compete. Hopefully we’ll get a four-cylinder…