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BMW lifts lid on all-new front-drive 1 Series

1 Series hatchback debuts new front-drive platform for BMW, arriving Q4

BMW logo27 May 2019

BMW has ripped the covers of its all-new, third-generation 1 Series hatch, which will mark the first model to be underpinned by the brand’s new front-drive architecture when it arrives in local showrooms in the fourth quarter this year.

 

While the first two generations of 1 Series were rear-drive-only, the new layout brings increased interior dimensions, largely revised styling and front-drive dynamics borrowed from the i3 electric hatch.

 

Set for a public reveal at the BMW Welt event in Munich next month, the new 1 Series bears updated styling reminiscent of the X2 small SUV, with a similar front fascia to the brand’s little coupe-SUV.

 

The headlight design features a more slanted look while retaining the hexagonal lighting signature, while the signature kidney grille has grown in size – a common trend in recent BMWs – to the point where it now completely joined.

 

The front bumper has been redesigned with a wider central air inlet and narrower side intakes, while in profile the window line slopes upwards towards the rear, giving the 1 Series the impression of leaning forward.

 

At the rear, the 1 Series scores wide-set, two-section tail-lights that give the car the impressions of greater width, while BMW’s Hofmeister kink gives the 1 Series adds a coupe-like rear profile.

 

Wheel sizes start at 16 inches, all the way up to 19-inch hoops for the first time.

 

Externally, the new 1 Series is 5mm shorter (4319mm), 34mm wider (1799mm) and 13mm taller (1434mm) than its predecessor, while the wheelbase has decreased by 20mm, to 2670mm.

 

Despite being shorter than the second-gen version, BMW says its new platform has resulted in major increases in interior space, such as 33mm more legroom, 19mm more headroom and 13mm more elbow room for rear passengers, while front passengers also score an extra 42mm of elbow space.

 

The 1 Series’ 380-litre boot is up 20L and increases to 1200L with the rear seats folded. Boot width has also increased 67mm.

 

An 8.8-inch infotainment screen comes as standard, while the BMW Operating System 7.0 can be optioned with the inclusion of 10.25-inch screens for the infotainment and instrument cluster.

 

Globally, five powertrains will be offered at launch consisting of two petrol and three diesel units, however it is likely that from launch Australian examples will be offered only with the turbo-petrol engines, starting with the 118i.

 

The 118i makes use of a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine developing 103kW from 4200-6500rpm and 220Nm from 1480-4600rpm, driving the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

 

Completing the sprint from zero to 100km/h in 8.5 seconds, the 118i sips 5.0-5.7 litres per 100km while emitting 114-129 grams of CO2 per km.

 

With the removal of the six-cylinder M140i from the range with the generational changeover, the 1 Series line-up will be headlined by the new M135i xDrive, which instead uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit capable of producing 225kW from 4500-6250rpm and 450Nm from 1750-500rpm.

 

Teamed to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission and with the xDrive all-wheel drive as standard, the M135i’s engine is BMW’s most powerful four-cylinder production unit to date.

 

Combined fuel consumption for the M135i is pegged at 6.8-7.1L/100km and CO2 emissions from 155-162 g/km, while the 0-100km/h sprint is completed in 4.8s.

 

To ensure a smooth switch from rear- to front-drive, BMW underwent a five-year development process, borrowing a piece of technology from the i3 hatch called ARB (actuator continuous wheel slip limitation), which controls wheel slip directly via the ECU instead of the stability control stystem,, allowing for a faster response and greater mitigation of understeer and wheel slip.

 

The M135i provides even greater handling with all-wheel drive and the addition of a Torsen mechanical limited-slip differential on the front axle.

 

For Europe, all 1 Series’ will come standard with autonomous emergency braking with collision and pedestrian warning, and lane departure warning with lane-keep assist. Adaptive cruise control, rear collision warning and cross-traffic warning will be optional.

 

Four equipment levels will be offered, consisting of Advantage, Luxury Line, Sport Line and M Sport.

 

More Australian details, including pricing, specification and exact line-ups will be revealed closer to the model’s arrival before the end of the year.

 

Through the first four months of the year, 1 Series sales have slipped 20.7 per cent to 726 units, putting it third in the premium small-car segment behind the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (1570) and Audi A3 (1220).


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