So here it is: Autocar reports that we'll see the first front-drive BMW at the Paris Motor Show this September, in concept form. It will likely be called the 1 Series GT, and the report says it will debut in late 2014. The car will share a platform with the forthcoming Mini redesign, as well as the turbo 1.5-liter three-cylinder Mini engine that's basically half of a BMW 3.0-liter inline six.
Boo. Wasn't there something in the 1990 German Reunification treaty about BMW never making front-drive cars? Well there should have been.
Of course, we've known that BMW has planned to throw away what last bit of brand purity it still retains since early 2010, when its chairman announced as much. And we know the reasoning: The front-drive, entry-level Bimmers are for the customers too dumb to know any better. But that doesn't mean we have to like it, even if BMW says it will still build the larger, rear-wheel-drive cars that have made the brand so special for decades.
We will thus cling to the hope that this concept is just an elaborate marketing trick to drive sales of the current 1 Series.