Scheduled for May 27th, the official debut of the new BMW 1 Series is about a week away. However, the Bavarian marketing machine has been busy keeping attention levels high.
Last week, we got to see what we believe to be the M135i xDrive, the hot hatch that will make the FWD transition a little easier to take. However, a French YouTube channel by the name of Planete-GT got exclusive access to a pre-production 118i.
As we reported many months ago, this will be the main model at launch, fitted with a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder making 140 horsepower. It doesn’t sound very BMW-like but is actually going to be a top competitor in the compact class, going up against the Audi A3 35 TFSI, the Golf 1.5 TSI, and Mercedes A 180.
The French car reviewer is allowed to strip some of the camouflage from certain areas, revealing things like the headlights, the taillights, and some cool-looking black grilles. The 1 Series seems to share a lot of its external DNA with the X3, but also resembles the upcoming facelift of the X1 crossover.
Inside, we see that the 2020 hatchback has gained a lot of legroom in the back. This may seme normal-sized on any other car, but the rear-wheel-drive 1 Series was a tight squeeze and also featured a huge transmission tunnel. At the same time, build quality has reportedly gone up.
Since the information lines up, we’re sure that the only other engine available initially will be the 120d, but BMW is sure to offer about a dozen variations eventually. The 1.5 could go as low as 102 HP and should sever as the base for a plug-in hybrid. The most frugal normal version is sure to be a 116 HP 1.5L diesel. Depending on the model, gearbox choices will switch between a manual, a DCT and the 8-speed auto.