View Single Post
      08-07-2012, 08:45 AM   #31
New Member

Drives: 2007 BMW 118i E87
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Munich, Germany

iTrader: (0)

I own a 2007 BMW 118i E87 Hatchback which I inherited from my sister. I am generally happy with the car but it has two major drawbacks thanks to its RWD layout.

The first drawback is for the rear passengers. I am a big guy at 6'4". In a car like the 1-Series, I need to slide the front seat back all the way - which means only an amputee has comfortable seating space in the back. But even with the seat not slid back all the way, rear leg space remains extremely limited. Part of the problem is that the transmission tunnel in the E87s is unusually wide and high (much higher and wider than in the coupes which you get in America).

The second problem is driving in the winter. This is my daily driver. I am a professional photographer who needs to visit clients here and there. In the winters my car is useless, especially when I head down to places like Kitzbühel where 70% of the roads are not cleared of ice and snow.

Let's face it. In a modern compact car that stresses family values, RWD is completely impractical. It's far to space consuming. Sure, it will drive great, but most people will feel a FWD car drives great to (everyone has a different opinion of what "driving" is).

For my next car I am not even looking at a BMW. I am looking at a FWD Citroen C5 Tourer / Citroen C4 Aircross SUV which is stylish, spacious, comfortable and I won't have the traction and getting-stuck problems in the winter which I've had with my 118i.

Now don't get me wrong. I love my car, I really do. It drives great and is fun, but I am not one of those "I need RWD or I'll walk" diehards. Personally I actually prefer FWD/AWD to RWD because to me it has more real-world benefits.

The third generation 1-Series will very likely, according to most reports, be FWD. Why? Because BMW has to become competitive in this class in the criteria that the average buyer wants: interior space, increased practicality etc. The result? The few enthusiasts like us might complain, but the average consumer out there will rejoice because now the 1er will be more practical, more spacious and even return better fuel economy than before.

Besides, it's not like BMW will make the 3-Series' FWD. Only the smaller, compact BMWs may get FWD and it will make those cars more competitive against their rivals from a practical point of view.

Also, there are many great driving FWD cars out there. In my line of work I am at many motorsport and drifting events and I meet a lot of hardcore BMW owners who swear by RWD. Yet, many of them also respect and give the nod to impressive FWD performance cars like the Renault Megane RS / Trophy RS or the Peugeot RCZ, the former which has gotten superb reviews here in Europe. In fact many of these BMW owners I meet who have driven the Renault Megane RS / Trophy RS claim it drives like a RWD car thanks in part to a sophisticated differential lock at the front wheels. And in a few European reviews the Renault Megane RS / Trophy RS and Peugeot RCZ have outhandled and outperformed a BMW 1er Coupe on the track - and this was not on a wet track.