Looking at it in profile, there are hints of the X2 in the new baby BMW's design.

The latest batch of spy shots have revealed the next-generation BMW 1 Series hatchback beginning its cold-weather testing as part of its considerable development programme. 

This one continues to wear heavy camouflage that largely hides the updated design. The most noticeable changes are at the front where the 1 Series gains a wide set of kidney grilles and wraparound headlights that accentuate the width of the nose. In profile, the vehicle looks sleek and bears some resemblance to the X2 crossover, particularly that raked hatchback.

Previous spy photos have let us see inside a heavily camouflaged 1 Series prototype, and the pictures confirm that a fully digital instrument panel will be available on the new car – possibly even a standard feature. The infotainment screen now integrates better into the dashboard and no longer looks like a bit of an afterthought.

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The biggest changes to the 1 Series will be under the skin – controversially for some BMW fans, the latest version of the firm's entry-level hatchback will switch to BMW’s front-wheel-drive platform, rather than the current rear-drive layout. Some models will still be available with all-wheel drive, though.

The new 1 Series will have a roomier cabin, especially for those sitting in the back. It’ll be easy to access the rear bench, too, because the model is only set to come as a five-door.

The change in platform will also mean a complete lack of six-cylinder engines in the 1 Series lineup. Instead, a range of three- and four-cylinder units will be available. Even the range-topping M140i will have a 2-litre turbo four-cylinder engine, and there won’t be a full M variant.

The latest facelift for the car might only have been unveiled last July, but BMW seems on course to reveal its new hatchback in time for an early 2019 on-sale date.

 

BMW 1 Series Snow Spy Photos