2020 BMW 1 Series officially revealed with FWD underpinnings

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BMW has revealed the third-generation 1 Series, ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt motor show this September.

Above: M135i xDrive

The third generation of the popular hatch marks a major departure for the nameplate, as it has now switched from rear-wheel-drive to a transverse-engined front-wheel-drive platform borrowed from the BMW X1/X2 and Mini range.

Visually, the new 1er borrows many design cues from the funky X2 crossover, combined with elements from BMW’s latest models. Up front there’s a set of coinjoined, upright kidney grilles, flanked by adaptive LED headlights – below that is the lower intake design, which differs depending on whether the Sport Line or M Sport packs have been optioned.

Above: M135i xDrive

Around the side there’s a distinctive Hofmeister kink and slim, wedge-shaped windows, while at the rear there’s a pair of LED headlights inspired by the X2, and a black lower diffuser.

Dimensionally, it measures in at 4319mm long, 1799mm wide and 1434mm tall, with a 2670mm wheelbase – that’s 5mm shorter, 34mm wider, 13mm taller and 20mm longer in wheelbase than the outgoing car.

Above: M135i xDrive

Inside, the cabin is nearly a carbon copy of the new 3 Series and Z4. In top-spec models, the dash is dominated by a set of screens: a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen running BMW’s latest iDrive 7 system, and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. Other interior features include a 9.2-inch head-up display, panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate, wireless phone charging and a 464W 16-speaker Harman/Kardon premium sound system.

Practicality wise, boot volume has grown to 360 litres, while passenger room has grown in all dimensions.

There’s a truckload of available safety technology too, with the range topper getting autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, automated parking and much more.

Above: M135i xDrive interior


At launch, five powertrains will be offered: three diesels and two petrols.

Starting with the petrols, the drivetrain that will excite enthusiasts most is the M135i xDrive. It pairs the 225kW/450Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder from the X2 M35i with an all-wheel-drive system and eight-speed automatic gearbox, enabling a 4.8-second 0-100km/h time and an electronically-limited 250km/h top speed. An ‘M Performance’ package will be available from November, that’ll shave a further tenth off that sprint time.

The other petrol on offer from launch is the 118i, which utilises a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder producing 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque – it drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed automatic transmission.

Above: 118i Sport Line

Moving to the diesels, the entry-level option is the 1.5-litre three-pot 116d, which sends 85kW and 270Nm to the front axle through a six-speed manual or seven-speed auto. The mid-grade 118d boasts a 2.0-litre turbo-four producing 110kW and 350Nm, again sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed auto. Finally, the 120d xDrive produces 140kW and 400Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo, sent to all wheels through an eight-speed automatic exclusively.


We’d wager that a 141kW/280Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol powered 120i will join the range at a later date, along with an 85kW 116i.

The 2020 BMW 1 Series will launch in European markets in September this year, following the Frankfurt motor show that’s taking place at a similar time.

Above: 118i Sport Line

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