The only thing the new 1 Series will have in common with its predecessor is going to be the BMW badge. Developed from the ground up, the third generation of Bavaria’s compact hatchback has been spotted by our spies many times, and we are happy to report there’s less disguise on the prototype. What you see is what you’ll actually be getting in the sense that BMW has finally removed the additional panels, with only a thin strip of camouflage covering the production body.
The test vehicle appears to be as close to the final version as possible, carrying the full production body and lights. The dashboard is fully covered underneath a piece of fabric, so there’s a pretty good chance the prototype had all the bits and pieces you’ll see on customer cars once deliveries will start sometime next year.
Gallery: 2020 BMW 1 Series spy photos
Once the camouflage will come off, we’re expecting the new BMW 1 Series to look a lot like in our speculative render attached below. Significantly sleeker than the outgoing model, the new hatch will likely inherit the latest design traits implemented in the bigger 3 Series. It will be more than just a simple evolution of the current car, and this will be especially true underneath the skin.
Following the launch of the 2 Series Active Tourer / Gran Tourer, the X1, and the X2, the 1 Series hatchback is next in line to ride on a front-wheel-drive platform. While the models you’ll find at a BMW dealership use the UKL platform also underpinning the Minis, the new 1 Series will allegedly be the first to ride on FAAR (Frontantriebsarchitektur) – effectively meaning front-wheel-drive architecture. It will underpin not only the next generations of the aforementioned MPVs and crossovers, but also a new addition to the lineup – the 2 Series Gran Coupe.
Getting back to the 1 Series at hand, it’s unclear whether there will be a three-door version this time around. All spy shots so far have shown prototypes of the five-door model, and given the decreasing demand for the three-door body style, we won’t be too surprised if BMW will decide to skip the less practical configuration.
A new M140i is also on the horizon, but it will lose the six-cylinder engine for a smaller 2.0-litre expected to have around 300 horsepower as it is the case with the X2 M35i.
BMW will likely introduce the next-gen 1 Series in the first half of 2019. Only time will tell whether the 1 Series Saloon (pictured below in updated guise) will make it to Europe and/or the United States.