Will allegedly be demoted to a front-wheel-drive layout.

Far from being the prettiest model in BMW’s extensive lineup, the second-generation 1 Series on sale since late 2011 received a comprehensive facelift early 2015, but it’s still not what many would call a handsome hatchback. Thankfully, the Bavarians are cooking up a successor and today we are able to bring the first set of spy shots depicting the all-new model.

2019 BMW 1 Series spy photo
2015 BMW 1-Series facelift

Despite the swirly camouflage applied onto the extra fake panels, already it is noticeable BMW’s new entry-level model will have a sleeker shape. Basically, everything has changed, from the shape of the headlights and taillights to the car’s proportions. The wheelbase has likely been stretched as the rear doors appear to be slightly longer than those of the current model. It means the overhauled 1 Series will be more spacious inside the cabin, especially for people in the rear.

The modifications brought by the third generation are going to be more than skin deep, as the hatchback will no longer be rear-wheel drive. Indeed, it is believed the next 1 Series will utilise to the UKL platform as the 2 Series Active Tourer & Gran Tourer MPV duo, so it will come as standard with a FWD setup.

2019 BMW 1 Series spy photo
2015 BMW 1-Series facelift

You might like our speculative render:

It remains to be seen whether this demotion will affect sales of the car, although we have a strong feeling it won’t be the case since a study conducted back in 2010 revealed 80 percent of 1 Series owners believed the car had a FWD setup. Perhaps people are more knowledgeable now than they were seven years ago, but it’s unlikely this switch will take its toll on customer demand for BMW’s smallest car. After all, there are many people that simply don’t care about whether the car they’re driving is FWD, RWD, or AWD. Not only that, but sales of the two aforementioned MPVs are great, so why should things be any different with the 1 Series?

Keep in mind that not all 1 Series models are going to be FWD as the more expensive ones will come with an all-paw xDrive setup. By riding on the UKL platform, BMW’s most affordable car will be powered by a wide array of three- and four-cylinder turbocharged engines, so the M140i will likely lose its beefy six-cylinder unit.

2019 BMW 1 Series spy photo
2015 BMW 1-Series facelift

With this being only the first batch of spy shots, it means the next 1 Series won’t come out in the near future. Chances are BMW will introduce the new generation towards the end of 2018 or early 2019. Meanwhile, the current-gen car will soon get a discreet second facelift. Watch this space for spy images of the lightly revised car, but don’t hold your breath for any drastic changes.

Photos: Automedia

2019 BMW 1 Series spy photos