BMW is gearing up to replace its 1-Series hatchback with a new model in 2019 based on the front-wheel-drive Mini Countryman. Our spy-shots from Munich show what this upcoming Audi A3 and Mercedes A Class rival will look like. The prototype snapped wears significantly less camouflage than in previous images.
The new 1-Series isn’t expected to look radically different to the outgoing model. Its revised front end should take inspiration from the new 5-Series while a modified rear bumper should help it look slightly less bulbous than the outgoing car. A pair of angular headlights with hexagonal daytime running lights should pull the new 1-Series in line with the rest of the BMW range while a more distinct kink in the rear pillar could lend it a sportier silhouette than the old model.
The rather old-fashioned dashboard fitted to the outgoing car should be dropped in favour of a thoroughly modern design, similar to the latest 5-Series’ cabin. The new car’s longer Countryman underpinnings plus better engine packaging should help make the new 1-Series noticeably more practical than the current model. Headroom and legroom will reportedly be improved while shoulder space is tipped to be better than the old car, too.
The lack of a rear differential – the set of gears that splits power between the wheels – beneath the rear floor should mean the new car’s boot can swallow significantly more than the old car’s 360-litre load bay. The annoying hump in the rear floor would be noticeably flatter, too.
The new 1-Series will reportedly borrow engines from the current Mini and BMW X1 ranges. The most basic models will probably feature a 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel or a three-cylinder turbo petrol unit. Spend a little more and you will be treated to a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol in 120i guise or a 2.0-litre diesel engine in the 120d.
Unlike the previous generation car, the new 1-Series will be front-wheel drive as standard. This may come as a surprise to BMW purists, but it will allow the German manufacturer to offer its smallest model with a new hybrid system. This setup is expected to make use of a 1.5-litre petrol engine with a compact electric motor and should cut CO2 emissions to below 50g/km.
The new 1-Series is expected to go on sale later this year and could cost approximately the same as the outgoing model. A new 2-Series, based on the same new front-wheel-drive platform, should be released in 2019 in both Coupe and Convertible guises.