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by Tim Beissmann

The first front-wheel-drive BMW in history will reportedly make its international debut at September’s 2012 Paris motor show.

The UK’s Autocar reports the landmark model, expected to be the BMW 1-Series GT, will be unveiled as a concept in Paris, previewing the production model that is due in late 2014.

Like BMW’s existing 5-Series GT and its upcoming 3-Series GT, the new model is expected to have a ground-hugging stance and a boosted seating position, and incorporate a rear-end design that blurs the lines between conventional sedan, wagon, hatch and SUV profiles.

The new model appears set to expand BMW’s 1-Series line-up rather than replace the current hatch (pictured above), which launched internationally and locally in 2011.

Destined to compete with the Mercedes-Benz B-Class compact MPV, the new BMW will share its front-wheel-drive platform with the all-new third-generation Mini Cooper, which is also due in 2014.

Both BMW Group vehicles will benefit from the manufacturer’s upcoming turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, while four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and a hybrid powertrain are also on the cards. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system will expected to be available as an option to the controversial front-drive layout.

Earlier this year, a source from Mini told CarAdvice the two upcoming front-wheel-drive cars would have their own unique characters, and insisted the next Mini Cooper hatch would be more fun to drive than its German cousin.




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