New look, new platform, new everything.
The current generation of the BMW 1 Series (internal codes for five- and three-door models: F20 / F21) went on sale back in 2011. According to the eternal laws of the automotive industry, the successor will be due in 2019. Our rendering shows what the car might look like.
The grille has the typical BMW kidney shape, so it is not mirrored like on the X2. Whether the front headlights will be shaped exactly as the rendering shows, remains a bit speculative, since the lights were heavily camouflaged in the spy shots we've published over the last few months. In any case, the LED light elements will now receive the new hexagonal shape. Our rendering obviously shows a version with the M Sport Package, so it has large air intakes. The mirrors are dipped here in faux carbon fiber. The distance between the front wheel arches and the front door edge is now shorter than before. The upper character line lies (just as at the current model) at the height of the door handles. The roofline gently drops off to the rear, while the lower character line rises. As before, the B-pillar is hidden behind a black finish.
Technically, a lot of changes will be made with the new 1 Series. Above all, the rear-wheel drive is replaced by front-wheel drive. The newcomer is based (like the 2 Series Active / Gran Tourer, the X1, and the Mini Countryman) on the platform UKL. Pictured below, the 1 Series Sedan is already being sold (internal code: F56) with a length of 4.46 meters (14.6 feet) and a wheelbase of 2.67 meters (8.7 feet). For comparison, the current 1 Series measures 4.32 meters (14.1 feet) and the wheelbase is 2.69 meters (8.8 feet). The new 1 Series should take over the wheelbase of the F56, but it should be slightly shorter.
Whether there will be again both three- and five-door versions is not yet clear. Our picture shows the five-door, the three-door could (as for the Mercedes A-Class, but unlike the VW Golf) be dropped. As far as the engines are concerned, the new compact from Munich will probably only get three- and four-cylinder units. The strongest four-cylinder gasoline engine from Munich so far has 258 hp -- that would be a candidate for a 130i. Furthermore, there are rumors of a 300-hp four-cylinder engine in the X2, which could also work in a 135i. A six-cylinder (as in the current M140i) is not compatible with the UKL platform.
The plug-in hybrid we expect will not be a substitute for the 340-hp inline-six as instead, it will primarily be about fuel efficiency. The 224-hp hybrid technology will likely be taken from the 225xe Active Tourer iPerformance (and the corresponding system in the Mini Cooper SE Countryman All4). In addition, there are rumors about a mild hybrid system for the 1 Series and the replacement of the torque converter automatic gearbox with a dual-clutch transmission.
We expect the freshman to get a digital instrument cluster inside the cabin. In any case, that would be good, because the competition already has it: for the Audi A3 it’s called the Virtual Cockpit, the VW Golf has an Active Info Display and the new A-Class has MBUX widescreen display. In the rear, the new 1 Series should offer more space than before. However, the center tunnel will hardly be smaller than now, as the new 1 Series will also be available with xDrive -- so space must be provided for a driveshaft to the rear. As far as the trunk is concerned (so far only 360 to 1,200 liters), the new 1 Series will probably grow in that area. The front-wheel drive leads to improvements here.
The prices are likely to remain about the same, which in Germany currently start at around €25,900 for the five-door version (116 i with 109 hp).
It's too soon to say whether the next-generation BMW 1 Series will make it to the United States, but even if it will, chances are only the sedan will be offered.