In Review

BMW 1 Series 2020: official images, prices, specs and release

Entry-level hatchback makes the move to a front-wheel drive layout for the very first time

BMW has finally taken the covers off its all-new 1 Series hatchback. The new model is bigger than ever before as the German carmaker looks to compete with key rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Audi A3.

Due to hit the showrooms in September, the new 1 Series features a front-wheel drive system for the very first time, as opposed to the rear-wheel drive layout that has featured on every version of the hatchback since its arrival in 2004.

That’s a significant shift, says Autocar, as BMW favoured rear-wheel drive layouts because it made their cars more enjoyable to drive.

Fans will have to wait closer to the car’s release to see whether the critics think the shift to a front-wheel drive layout has impacted the hatchback’s handling. 

In the meantime, here’s everything we know about the new 1 Series. 

Price and release

Orders are due to get underway in September, says Car magazine. 

Prices get underway at £24,430 before rising to £36,430 for top-spec M135i models, the magazine adds.  

Design and interior

The new 1 Series incorporates a host of design elements from BMW’s most recent models. These include the vast kidney grille that first appeared on the 8 Series last year, angular LED headlights and a sculpted bonnet that features on the new 3 Series saloon.

Moving further back, the hatchback has a lower roofline that gradually slopes downwards towards the rear, giving it a more sporty look. The boot lid also looks wider than the old car, so loading larger objects should be less hassle. 

Overall, though, the new 1 Series looks slightly larger than its predecessor, which puts it firmly into competition with the Mercedes A-Class and the Audi A3.

Thanks to the car’s larger proportions, WhatCar? says “there’s more room for the heads, knees and elbows of rear passengers” compared to the old 1 Series. There’s also more room in the boot, too, with 380 litres of space available. 

There’s plenty of tech on offer as well, the reviews site adds. An digital touchscreen of up to 10.25in in diameter can be found in the centre console, which uses BMW’s “excellent” iDrive infotainment system. Analog instrument dials come as standard, though they can be upgraded to a 10.25in digital alternative with the optional “Live Cockpit Professional” pack. 

Engines and performance

Five models will be available when the car goes on sale, comprising of two petrol motors and three diesel options.

At the bottom of the petrol range sits a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine badged 118i, says CarBuyer. This model expected to be “one of the bestsellers” in the range, producing a respectable 138bhp and offering an average fuel economy of 56.5mpg. 

Above that sits the sporty M135i, which comes with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that replaces the old model’s 3.0-litre six-cylinder motor, the reviews site says. Still, the new model sprints from 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and boasts a limited top speed of 155mph. All that performance comes at a cost, though, as M135i’s fuel economy drops to 41.5mpg. 

The three diesel engines comprise of the 116d, 118d and 120d, says Evo. The entry-level car is powered by a three-cylinder motor, while the other two models are equipped with BMW’s 2.0-litre engine. 

Manual gearboxes and front-wheel drive systems come as standard on all models bar the M135i, which gets an eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive, the magazine notes. Eight-speed transmissions can also be specced on all other models except the 116d, which is manual-only.

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