MIRAMAS, France – The word in March 2004 from BMW’s proving ground here in the south of France was definitive: Its rear-wheel-drive 1-Series prototypes were crucial to BMW’s Golf-fighting small car retaining Munich’s traditional driving character. “We wanted a pure BMW,” 1-Series project leader Gerd Schuster told WardsAuto. “A sports package that fits one class below the 3-Series and offers real driving pleasure. We wanted  high-quality steering ...

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