BMW 1 Series GT: First front-wheel drive Bimmer on the way?

BMW 1 Series GT front three-quarter viewBMW says it builds the “Ultimate Driving Machine,” and that means all of its cars are rear-wheel drive to ensure the best handling balance. However, that might change soon. The 1 Series GT, rumored to be making a Paris Motor Show debut, could be the company’s first front-wheel drive model.

Why move away from enthusiast-friendly rear-wheel drive? Dr. Klaus Draeger, a member of BMW’s board of directors, told Auto Express that BMW will leverage the experience it got from designing the Mini for its own small, front-drive car.

“A front-wheel-drive BMW will definitely come. We have a lot of experience. We know how to make the car turn-in sharply to corners and we know how to tune the steering so that there isn’t much torque steer,” Draeger said.

Since the new car will be compact, like its Mini cousin, it will get a 1 Series badge. It will have little in common with the current, rear-drive 1 Series, although there is talk of switching all 1 Series models to front-drive with the next redesign.

Sharing a platform with Mini will drive down the development costs of both cars. The current 1 Series is an outlier in the compact segment, since it is the only car of its size with rear-wheel drive. In 2011, the company surveyed 1 Series owners and found that they didn’t care much about rear-wheel drive.

If its front-drive layout isn’t enough of a shock to BMW fans, the rest of the 1 Series GT’s design will be. To differentiate it from Mini, BMW will make the 1 Series GT into a mini-minivan, emphasizing practicality over sportiness.BMW 1 Series GT rear three-quarter view

The 1 Series GT will also get more powerful engines than a Mini Cooper, but “power” is a relative term here. The BMW will be powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, which is essentially one half of the 3.0-liter inline-six the company uses in its larger models. A source at BMW said it will make a “minimum” of 100 horsepower.

BMW will also offer a 2.0-liter four cylinder, as well as diesel versions of both engines. Transmission choices will be a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic.

BMW is also working on hybrid and all-electric versions of the 1 Series GT.

The BMW van with the heart of a MIni will most likely debut at the Paris Motor Show in September. After that, a launch in the United States seems questionable. A small van probably won’t appeal to Americans, unless BMW can offer it at bargain basement prices.

In the U.S., BMW is viewed as a premium, luxury brand before anything else, and the 1 Series GT could cheapen that reputation even more than BMW’s reputation for building “Ultimate Driving Machines.”

Cars

Has Apple rebooted its self-driving car program to develop autonomous vans?

The on-again, off-again Apple car is back on track, but it's not a sedan or a hatchback. It will arrive as an electric, autonomous passenger-carrying van, according to a recent report.
Cars

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.
Cars

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…
Cars

Aston Martin’s next hypercar, due in 2021, will pack a hybrid powertrain punch

Aston Martin will follow up the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro with a new hypercar, code-named Project 003. The car will debut in 2021, with production limited to 500 units worldwide.
Cars

Apple opens up about its self-driving car program in letter to NHTSA

Apple has traditionally kept details about its self-driving car technology under wraps, but it has revealed details about the program in a rare instance of openness. The company takes safety seriously.
Cars

Tesla will release fully self-driving cars in 2019 — with a big asterisk

Tesla reaffirmed its goal of releasing a fully self-driving car by the end of 2019, but it warned the system won't work perfectly 100 percent of the time. Convincing regulators that it's safe to use will require some effort, too.
Cars

Consumer Reports bumps the Tesla Model 3 off of its list of recommended models

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the six new cars that have lost their coveted Recommended rating from Consumer Reports over reliability concerns. In 2018, Model 3 owners reported body trim falling off and problems with the car's glass.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.