An affordable, economical BMW? Isn’t that an oxymoron? It’s not if you consider the BMW 1 Series, which is currently sold in small-car friendly Europe and is due to arrive in U.S. sometime in 2007. After years of rumors, MINIs, and begging and pleading, BMW finally confirmed that the 1 Series would be sold Stateside, though the automaker is not relinquishing many details.
The impending arrival of the BMW 1 raises a lot of questions. First and foremost, what will it look like? The European 1 Series is a hatchback, but despite the apparent hatchback revival in the U.S., BMW has suggested that the 1 Series will take the shape of a coupe, sedan, and wagon in the States. Will it be rear-wheel-drive, like in foreign markets? Possibly, though affordable rear-wheel-drive vehicles are rare in the U.S., and it can cost valuable interior space, which is an important point for shoppers in the small car market. Will people buy an economical car with a luxury badge? It is a tricky marketing conundrum, and it will be interesting to see how BMW approaches it. However, car enthusiasts like novelty, and the 1 Series might put a BMW within reach for people who had only dreamed of owning one before.
What all BMW fans really wonder is, will the 1 Series be the new 2002, the beloved BMW sports sedan sold in the ’60s and ’70s? Only time will tell.