BMW moves its arsenal of prototypes to south of Spain where several mules have been spotted this week. Yesterday we saw the X7 being tested, while earlier today the G20 3 Series made an appearance. Now, it’s the 1 Series’ turn to go out for a testing session in the hot weather. This new generation of compact BMWs will undergo its greatest evolution to date, with a change of platform included that will eliminate the configuration of front longitudinal engine and rear-wheel drive in favor of a simpler, less expensive scheme – front transverse engines and traction. This change will be possible thanks to the move to the UKL platform of all the products of the brand’s compact vehicles, including the MINI range.
Losing the rear traction will not be a problem for the new model, since in this segment was more a rarity than an advantage, but in addition, will bring benefits in terms of space, allowing to gain centimeters in the area of the rear bench and the trunk as the rear axle is technically simplified. The new F40 1 Series will grow slightly in size, in addition to modifying some of its basic geometries by the new position of the engine and axles. At a glance, the new 1er will have dimensions very similar to those of other models in the segment, such as the Volkswagen Golf.
Design wise, the 1er hatchback builds atop the current BMW design language, but with a small twist – the headlights are slimmer and more angular, and full LED lights are standard. The front grille takes its cues from the recent BMW models, like the new 5 Series, being oversized and paired with 3D-sculpted slats. The lower front end gets drawn with a more aggressive bumper which incorporates the chrome fins seen on other BMWs as well, paired with the large air intakes. We don’t expect a major deviation from the current 1 Series hatchback design, so those of us that love the balanced package and performance of the hot hatch will still be able to enjoy the new F40 generation.
In the technical section we will find a renewed range of diesel and gasoline engines, counting even some M-tuned models. Although the new engine arrangement suggests that we will likely never see the six-cylinder inline engines, like the one that animates the M140i version of the current model, which features a 3.0-liter block and 340 hp.
BMW is expected to launch the new 1 Series family in 2019.