BMW has released the first official images of the 2025 BMW 1 Series. Despite having a different internal codename (F70), the newly unveiled car is a profound facelift of the F40 unveiled in May 2019. As a result, this premium hatchback continues to be based on the UKL2 platform with the usual front-wheel drive powertrain.

After five years on the market with relatively mediocre sales results, the German brand wants to give the 1 Series a little extra energy to better tackle the years ahead. BMW did something similar with the X5 F15, positioned as the third generation of this SUV, but whose chassis, wheelbase and interior were identical to those of the E70, aka the second generation. This type of update is designed to stimulate declining sales of a mature product and save the cost of developing a new generation.

The question now is whether there will be a new generation of 1 Series once the life cycle of the current one (E70 and F70) is over. An analysis of sales trends over the last 12 years suggests that the chances are slim. Here are the reasons why.

1. It's a hatchback

Although Europe still buys hatchbacks, this type of car is doomed as long as China and the United States refuse to buy them. A global brand like BMW, with global products, can't do much without the world's two biggest markets. Top-of-the-range brands base their profitability on producing cars that have global appeal and potential. This is one of the keys to the success of Germany's three premium brands: offering models that can easily be sold everywhere. The 1 Series is not available in China or the United States. This fact could explain why the brand has decided to give it a major facelift now and delay a possible next generation.

BMW 1 Series restyling 2024 (F70)

BMW 1 Series restyling 2024 (F70)

2. Electrification costs

So far, the BMW Group's electric vehicle strategy has worked well. Last year, BMW was the sixth best-selling BEV brand in the world, behind Tesla and BYD, two other small Chinese companies, and the Volkswagen brand. BMW is ahead of the big mainstream brands such as Toyota, Hyundai, Ford and even Mercedes, but a closer look at its current BEV offering reveals that the 1 Series is one of the few products not to be offered in an electric version, like the 3 Series and i3, the 4 Series and i4, the 5 Series and i5, the 7 Series and i7, the X1 and iX1, the X2 and iX2, the X3 and iX3, and the X5 and iX. The reason for this? Developing an electric version dedicated to the 1 and 2 Series could prove too costly, given that these are more price-sensitive segments.

3. There's the X1

Finally, the biggest threat to the future existence of the BMW 1 Series is not the Audi A3 or Mercedes A-Class, but the BMW X1. Until now, the two models have coexisted quite well. BMW first presented the first generation of the 1 Series in 2004. Then it was the turn of the first-generation X1 in 2009. However, the balance began to change after the introduction of the second-generation X1 in 2015.

Is the BMW 1 Series losing the challenge to the X1?

Worldwide deliveries

*Excluding Coupé and Cabriolet - **Including iX1

Until that year, the 1 Series had always outperformed the X1 in terms of sales, but since 2016, the correlations have changed and the SUV has always come out on top at the cost of falling sales. In fact, the third generation of the 1 Series, introduced in 2019, has sold significantly less than the previous two.

Top 10 markets

BMW 1 Series: sales by market in 2023

      Change over 2022 
1 United Kingdom 22,855 +64%
2 Germany 20,678 +18%
3 China 15,944 -37%
4 France 10,549 +29%
5 Italy 9,038 +33%
6 Belgium 5,921 +54%
7 Spain 4,562 +21%
8 Japan 3,118 -10%
9 Portugal 2,799 +29%
10 The Netherlands 1,808 -2%

*corresponds to the saloon version, developed solely for China.

Time will tell whether or not BMW will continue to produce the 1 Series. However, it is clear that the public has a clear preference for the 1 Series and its SUV sibling, the X1, even if the latter is generally more expensive than the former.