The wraps have come off one of the industry’s worst kept secrets- the 2020 BMW 1 Series hatchback. For 2020, the baby Bimmer is based on the front- and all-wheel drive FAAR platform, which is a radical departure from its predecessors.
Although it loses its USP of being the only rear wheel drive vehicle in its class, the 2020 1 Series benefits from significantly better packaging. BMW says there is 33mm more rear kneeroom, 19mm of headroom and 13mm of additional elbow space. Boot capacity has increased to 380 litres with the seats up (20L more than theoutgoing F20 1 Series) or 1200L with seats folded down.
Those gains in internal volume come despite the vehicle being 5 millimetres shorter, at 4319mm. It is, however, 13mm taller, at 1434mm and 34mm wider, at 1799mm. The wheelbase shrinks to 2670mm, due in no small part to the decreased dash-to-axle ratio.
Engine options open with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo churning out 103kW and 220Nm via either a six speed manual or seven speed automatic. The M135i xDrive hot hatch sits at the top of the tree with 225kW and 450Nm, channeled through an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. This, says BMW, results in a scorching 0-100km/h time of 4.8 seconds.
Other engine choices include 1.5 and 2.0-litre diesels, but we will have to wait until local specifications are announced to see which combinations land here.
Aesthetically, the 1 Series borrows heavily from the highly acclaimed G20 3 Series internally, with the company’s bold new combined nostril grille taking pride of place on the fascia. We can even see elements of the old Z3 M Coupe from behind.
What do you think of the new 1 Series? Does it have what it takes to conquer rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Audi A3? Let us know what you think about it below.