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BMW M looking at front-wheel drive? 1.5L 3-cylinder – report

July 31, 2013

Some may remember a previous report about BMW M having a bit of a look at BMW’s new 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine. The M division chief has now hinted the company might be looking at creating an M version of the upcoming front-wheel drive 1 Series.

BMW TwinPower 1.5 3-cylinder

BMW itself turning to front-wheel drive is one jagged pill that BMW purists will soon have to swallow. With M division recently turning its attention to turbocharged engines for the first time, enthusiasts are having to adapt to that as well.

Speaking with Automotive News recently, Friedrich Nitschke, BMW M boss, hinted that the performance division might be interested in swinging further away from its roots and turning its attention to the front-wheel drive 1 Series.

The next 1 Series will become smaller than the current model, leaving room for a new ‘2 Series’ to come in. It’s understood it will share its ‘UKL’ architecture with the next-gen range of MINI Coopers. And, under the bonnet is set to feature the new ‘B38’ 1.5-litre TwinPower turbo three-cylinder (pictured).

Nitschke said “the three-cylinder is an attractive engine”, suggesting power could be tweaked up to 230kW. He also said the unit almost sounds like an inline six.

It is only early days yet. Though, it will be interesting to see how fans react if BMW M chooses to create a first-ever front-wheel drive M car. It will also be interesting to see how well M does with front-wheel drive, if it chooses to go down that path.

Brett is the editor and founder of PerformanceDrive. He's obsessed with driving, having played with Matchbox cars until he was tall enough to drive a real one. After initially working as a mechanic, Brett earned a degree in journalism and entered media as an editorial assistant at Top Gear Australia magazine. He then worked at CarAdvice.com.au. His dream is to live next door to the Nurburgring in Germany.