No prizes for guessing which car BMW's benchmarking.
Today’s rear-wheel drive BMW 1 Series will be replaced by an all-new front-wheel drive model in the second half of 2018. The firm is well advanced with its testing regime – so much so, it’s even taking time to check out the competition. Here is quite possibly the world’s first twin test between the new 1 Series and the Volkswagen Golf.
Although the 1 Series is still almost completely decked out in camouflage – indeed, there are even some fake body panels underneath it, hiding the car’s true lines – it’s still obvious it will boast similar dimensions to the benchmark Golf. The BMW will have a sportier twist, but it won’t be too racy: that would compromise interior space, and improving this is one of the key reasons why BMW’s making the switch from rear- to front-wheel drive.
The fact the test Golf is a TDI turbodiesel, and the BMW carries a single exhaust, suggests it too is a diesel. The mood might be sour towards oil-burners today but BMW knows they’ll still form the core of the range, so it’s making sure it has what it takes to challenge the Golf.
We don’t have any shot of the interior yet, but rest assured, this will mark a big step on from today’s model, following the lead of BMW’s class-leading 5 Series executive saloon. And yes, expect significant gains in rear passenger space: the current car is so flawed here compared to models like the Golf, BMW can’t ignore it any longer.
If you’re keen to see even more, fear not. The new 1 Series is still some way from launch, so you can bet more revealing images will be landing before long. In the meantime, rear-wheel drive fans seeking a compact family hatch, get down to your local BMW dealer while you still can…