AN ALL-NEW BMW 1 Series is on its way — without rear-wheel drive, for the first time ever.
What is the 2019 BMW 1 Series?
Since the first generation model was launched in 2004, the 1 Series has been the most affordable route into new BMW ownership. Unsurprisingly, the compact hatchback has been quite a popular model with UK motorists — at 28,125 units sold, the 1 Series was the best-selling BMW in Britain last year.
Despite its popularity, the car has been fundamentally revised for the all-new version, with BMW’s trademark rear-wheel drive set-up ditched in favour of front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
It’s the first of six upcoming models due to switch to front-wheel drive, which dramatically improves the packaging potential and should increase cabin space.
Having the weight of the engine over the driven wheels also improves grip, and should make for a more confidence-inspiring driving experience, but that won’t stop BMW die-hards weeping over the loss of the 1 Series’ key distinction from rivals.
What engines will the 2019 BMW 1 Series come with?
Despite the declining appeal of diesel with new car buyers, just two of the new 1 Series’ five engines from launch will take petrol: an entry-level 118i engine with 128bhp and the range-topping 302bhp unit for the M135i hot hatch.
While the 118i is claimed to be fairly frugal (BMW says it’s capable of up to 47.1mpg), the diesel options will be the ones to go for if you want the best efficiency. BMW says even the thirstiest diesel (the 188bhp 120d) can return up to 51.4mpg, and there’s very little to separate the 114bhp 116d (up to 61.4mpg) and 148bhp 118d (up to 60.1mpg) when it comes to fuel consumption.
A six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard on the 118i petrol and the 116d and 118d diesel engines, with a seven-speed automatic available as an option on the 118i and 116d. An eight-speed auto ‘box is an option on the 118d, and is the only available choice on the 120d diesel and M135i petrol. The range-topping diesel and petrol variants will also be exclusively available with all-wheel drive.
Will there be a plug-in hybrid BMW 1 Series?
As the platform that underpins the next BMW 1 Series has been designed with hybrid powertrains in mind, an electrified version of the hatchback is highly likely. If such a car goes on sale, there’s a strong chance it will use a version of the petrol-electric setup used by sister company MINI in the Countryman PHEV.
What tech will the 2019 BMW 1 Series have?
According to BMW, the new 1 Series is set to come with a decent amount of standard equipment. All variants will be fitted with automatic air-conditioning, built-in navigation with real time traffic updates, cruise control, lane departure warning and front and rear parking sensors as standard, and those who specify the ‘M Sport’ trim will add heated front seats and sportier suspension to the spec list.
For an additional cost, 1 Series buyers can specify kit featured on on larger, more expensive BMWs. These optional extras range from gesture recognition controls and wireless charging tray for a smartphone, to stop/go cruise control and a “Digital Key” that lets the driver use their phone as a key fob.
Thanks to the front-wheel drive packaging, leg room is claimed to have increased by 33mm, and the boot capacity has grown by 20 litres to an Audi A3 Sportback-matching 380 litres.
When will the 2019 BMW 1 Series go on sale?
Order books are now open for the new BMW 1 Series. According to the German car maker, the first customer cars should start arriving on UK roads in September later this year.
How much will the 2019 BMW 1 Series cost?
Prices for the BMW 1 Series will start at £24,439 for the entry-level petrol model, with the diesel range kicking off at £25,480 for the 116d variant. The 118d and 120d models will set owners back £26,640 and £32,470 respectively, and the £36,430 M135i variant sits at the top of the new 1 Series pricelist.
What are the 2019 BMW 1 Series’ rivals?
The new BMW 1 Series is going up against an array of premium hatchbacks, such as the five-door Audi A3 Sportback and Mercedes-Benz A-class. All-new versions of alternatives such as the Lexus CT and Volvo V40 are expected to be launched within the next few years, and more affordable alternatives include the Volkswagen Golf and the Ford Focus in its range-topping ‘Vignale’ trim.