The hatchbacks appear to have similar dimensions, but the BMW has more athletic cues.
The Volkswagen Golf is a heavyweight in the hatchback fight, so it only makes sense that BMW uses one of its rival’s models for benchmarking against the upcoming front-wheel-drive 1 Series. The German brand still keeps the hatchback under heavy camouflage in these photos, including concealing much of the windows.
Seeing the two vehicles side by side, it appears that the 1 Series has similar dimensions as the Golf, but the BMW has a more athletic appearance. Narrower, slanted headlights make the 1 Series’ face seem to squint. At the rear, the 1er features more steeply raked rear glass and a larger spoiler.
BMW continues to dress the test mules in fake body panels. Look closely along the side, and you can see the rivets holding the false sections. This means that we still can’t be sure about how the hatchback looks in profile. A rendering from earlier in the year hints at what to expect, though.
Unlike previously spied test mules, this 1 Series features a single exhaust poking out of the back. Since it’s testing with a Golf TDI, this might suggest that we are seeing a diesel prototype in these shots.
The new 1 Series ditches the rear-drive layout of the previous two generations and moves to BMW’s UKL front-wheel-drive platform that also underpins models from Mini and the latest X1. The switch means that the new hatchback would use three- and four-cylinder turbocharged engines, rather than being available with the firm’s inline six mills. Top trims like the M140i would likely offer all-wheel drive.
A lot more spy photos of the 1 Series could still arrive because the model doesn’t likely debut until the second half of 2018.