At the top of the range will be the 300-horsepower M130iX M Performance with standard xDrive.

A completely new 1 Series has been a long time in the making and the wraps are expected to come off BMW’s entry-level model before the end of 2018. It’s a known fact the five-door premium hatchback will be demoted to a front-wheel-drive platform, but new details indicate it won’t be the UKL architecture that has underpinned the Minis as well as BMW’s own X1, the 2 Series Active Tourer / Gran Tourer minivans, and the China-only 1 Series Sedan.

The latest BMW 1 Series developments:

Sources close to Bavaria are suggesting the platform in question is an evolution of the UKL dubbed FAAR after Frontantriebsarchitektur. It’s more than just a rumor as the announcement was made by BMW’s man in charge of development, Klaus Fröhlich, while speaking with Autocar. He went on to specify the new underpinnings benefit from increased modularity and the platform has been engineered to better accommodate electrification, including pure EVs.

It goes without saying FAAR has been developed to support BMW’s xDrive setup and we will get to see the all-paw configuration as standard in the range-topping version. Expected to be called M130iX M Performance, the AWD hot hatch will allegedly arrive in 2020 with a reworked turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine developing somewhere in the region of 300 horsepower. The hottest member of the 1 Series family will go after the likes of the VW Golf R, Audi S3, and the forthcoming Mercedes-AMG A35. Don’t get your hopes up too high for an M1 as BMW has previously said its FWD-based cars will not get fully fledged M versions.

Getting back to the switch from a tail-happy RWD configuration to a FWD setup, while that may upset the purists, the silver lining would have to be a marginally lower starting price as the next-gen could be up to €750 ($930) cheaper. A weight loss is also expected thanks to the new underpinnings, while a considerably roomier cabin and a more spacious trunk are also on the agenda.

The hatchback will be the first of six BMWs to ride on the FAAR platform: 2 Series Gran Turismo (instead of getting China's 1 Series Sedan), 2 Series Active Tourer, 2 Series Gran Tourer, iX1 (baby crossover), and the X1.

Source: Autocar (1, 2)

Gallery: BMW 1 Series Spied With Production Taillights