Developed from the ground up, the all-new BMW 1 Series is inching closer to its world reveal scheduled to take place later this year. The third generation of Bavaria’s smallest car is currently located at the company’s proving ground in Miramas, Southern France where the overhauled 1er is undergoing final testing. BMW says the model has been in development for the last five years, with the biggest change over the outgoing model obviously being the switch to a front-wheel-drive architecture.
BMW has published not only a generous batch of images with camouflaged prototypes, but it has also disclosed some preliminary details of its new Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3 competitor. In M135i xDrive guise, the next-gen 1 Series will be equipped with the most powerful four-cylinder engine ever installed in a BMW. It’s the same turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine you’ll find in the X2 M35i and it develops an identical 302 bhp. No details about the amount of torque, but we’re expecting the same 332 pound-feet as seen in the hot crossover.
Gallery: 2020 BMW 1 Series testing in Miramas
While purists won’t like the idea of a FWD-based 1 Series, the new platform has allowed BMW’s engineers to create a significantly roomier interior thanks to the new packaging. For example, passengers sitting in the back get an extra 33 millimetres of legroom and an additional 19 mm of headroom compared to the old one.
The new 1 Series five-door hatchback promises to be a better companion on extended journeys thanks to the more accessible cargo area, which has been enlarged and can now swallow an extra 20 litres over the outgoing model. That brings the grand total to 380 litres.
Despite its FWD roots, the 2020 1 Series will be a “genuine BMW with an individual character,” according to Peter Langen, head of Driving Dynamics at the BMW Group. Borrowed from the i3s, the ARB technology refers to the actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation and is making its debut in a car powered by a combustion engine. It’s standard on the new 1er and encompasses a slip control system working together with the stability control system to significantly cut the dreaded understeer usually associated with FWD-based cars.
Also standard on the 2020 1 Series is something called BMW Performance Control (yaw moment distribution) enabling dynamic brake intervention. The company’s entry-level car has also been equipped with extra struts to boost torsional stiffness.
Expect the 1 Series to premiere in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, unless BMW will be kind enough to show the car online sooner than that.
The new BMW 1 Series: final test phase in Miramas
Extensive fine tuning at the BMW testing ground in the South of France sharpens the independent character of the new BMW 1 Series.
Munich. Camouflaged pre-series vehicles of the third-generation BMW 1 Series are currently still undergoing extensive test drives at the BMW proving ground in Miramas, Southern France. The facility’s diverse handling tracks offer the optimal conditions for refining agility and dynamics of the new BMW 1 Series. This was preceded by five years of intensive development work and the change to the modern BMW front-wheel drive architecture.
A genuine BMW with an individual character.
The new BMW 1 Series will set new standards in the premium compact class in terms of driving dynamics, whilst also offering significantly more space inside. With a cutting edge suspension set-up, innovative technologies and the integration of all driving dynamics-related components and control systems, the BMW 1 Series achieves greater agility both with the new front-wheel drive and BMW xDrive intelligent four-wheel drive. “Our customers will directly feel the fast and precise responsiveness that provides for an optimised driving experience. The BMW 1 Series will be a genuine BMW with an individual character,” says Peter Langen, head of Driving Dynamics at the BMW Group.
Transfer of technology from the BMW i3.
On the new BMW 1 Series, BMW has utilized all of the experience gained over recent years with BMW Group front-wheel drive models. A crucial element for the car’s exceptionally high agility is ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation) known from the BMW i3s, which is now celebrating its debut in a vehicle with a combustion engine. This transfer of technology from the BMW i brand to the core brand BMW improves traction decisively, while facilitating significantly more sensitive and faster control.
ARB technology, which is standard on the BMW 1 Series, features a slip control system positioned directly in the engine control unit instead of in the control unit for the DSC function (Dynamic Stability Control). Without long signal paths, information is passed on three times faster, with the regulation speed perceived by the driver actually being up to ten times faster. In close coordination with the DSC function, actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation significantly reduces the power understeer usually experienced with front-wheel drive vehicles, but without control intervention to stabilise lateral dynamics. BMW Performance Control (yaw moment distribution) also comes as standard and additionally increases agility of the BMW 1 Series through dynamic brake intervention. Moreover, torsional stiffness of the body structure is enhanced by the targeted use of additional struts such as a standard rear-end “boomerang strut”. “Through this extensive integration of all driving dynamics-related aspects as well as the new, innovative traction control feature, we are creating a completely novel driving experience,” says Holger Stauch, BMW 1 Series project manager.
The most powerful BMW Group 4-cylinder engine for the new top-of-the-range model.
A newly developed 4-cylinder engine stands out prominently within the drive portfolio of the new BMW 1 Series. The BMW M135i xDrive (combined fuel consumption: 7,1-6,8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 162-155 g/km)* features the most powerful 4-cylinder engine from the BMW Group with a 2-litre capacity and BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The power unit delivers 225 kW (306 hp), ensuring extremely dynamic handling properties through individual technical solutions such as a reinforced crank drive, new pistons and cod rods, a larger exhaust turbocharger as well as optimised fuel injection valves.
More interior space.
The BMW 1 Series has taken a major leap forward in terms of interior spaciousness. Thanks to the new front-wheel drive architecture with transverse engines and a low centre tunnel, noticeably more space is now available than in the predecessor model, especially on the back seats. For example, legroom for rear-seat passengers has increased by 33 millimetres and headroom at the back by 19 millimetres. Access to the rear compartment is now easier and luggage compartment capacity has increased by 20 litres to 380 litres. Thus, the new BMW 1 Series combines outstanding handling characteristics with significantly improved spaciousness.