The whole reason BMW went this route is bc people didn't even know/care that they were building the E8X 1 Series as RWD. More than 80% thought it was FWD. Those same people bitched that the interior was too small, and there were packaging issues compared to the competition.
This is the fastest growing segment as people opt for smaller premium cars than larger ones. Europe is a financial mess, the US is still recovery and this makes sense on so many levels.
BMW can make a small FWD sporty- it has been for a decade with the MINI and last time I checked no one said the MINI wasn't sporty or fun- yet it remains FWD.
RWD is better for race tracks and true performance cars but BMWs are light years from that now, and even then. They had great driving cars with marketing and that is no different here.
I'd take this any day as a fun. premium car for day to day commutes- compare this to every other hatch out there and it is easily already the best looking and most driver oriented from a non performance perspective.
Sign me up for one of these hybrids, with fuel hitting $9 a gallon here in Europe this is BMW's first hybrid that makes any sense from a fuel savings standpoint.