Arguably, the 1 Series is BMW’s most fun car to drive today and has been a huge seller for the Bavarians in Europe. But the 1 Series hatchback as we know it, will make room for a new generation of compact sport hatches in 2018.
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The new 1 Series will use the UKL platform – and will continue to be built under the Fxx designation, F40 – featured on the BMW X1 and MINI range, which means the power will now be sent to the front-wheels. Therefore, the longer wheelbase and absence of a propshaft will free up more space for passengers in the back, and also increase boot capacity. The new 1 Series should also be marginally taller and wider.
The design language will continue to be along the recently unveiled BMWs, so expect slimmer LED headlights connecting to the kidney grille, sleeker side views and a sportier lower front fascia.
As the UKL platform is only compatible with four-cylinder engines, that means the next flagship M140i will have to ditch its sonorous straight-six engine in favor of a turbocharged four-cylinder. The all-wheel drive xDrive system will continue to be offered on certain models.
The engines range will be adopted from the MINI and X1 line-ups. Entry-level cars, likely to be badged 116d, should come powered by an updated version of BMW’s 1.5-liter three-cylinder diesel, while a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol unit should appear in the 118i. Larger and more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will be found in the 120i and 120d respectively.
BMW will also use the next 1 Series to launch a wider roll-out of its iPerformance line-up. Joining BMW’s five other plug-in hybrid models will be an electrified 1 Series using a tuned version of the powertrain found in the MINI Countryman Cooper E.
Whether the hatch as we know it today will continue to carry the 1 Series badge or the rumored 2 Series moniker, it remains to be seen, but the new model will be a direct competitor with models such as the Volkswagen Golf R, Mercedes-AMG A45 and Ford Focus RS.