What makes a BMW a BMW? Up until not that long ago, a rear wheel drive drivetrain layout was right up the top of the list, but that’s not quite the case anymore.

We’ve known the new 1 Series would be front- and all-wheel-drive for a few years now, but does it actually matter?

The new model’s massive kidney grille will make sure you don’t confuse it with any other brand, and its all new body promises more useful space inside than ever before, which is arguably the most important thing for the brand’s smallest model.

The 1 Series hatch has always had a distinctive, long bonnet profile, which has generally been attributed to the rear-drive layout, but the new one is surprisingly close in proportions when compared side by side, with the key difference being that front and rear wheels have been moved further back into the body, because of the transverse engine layout up front, and to make more back seat space in the rear.

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