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BMW 1 Series 2020 revealed: baby Beemer goes front-drive

The third-generation BMW 1 Series has been revealed with a new look, new tech and - gasp! - a new front-wheel drive platform.

After a long teaser program, BMW has finally revealed the third-generation 1 Series ahead of a fourth quarter 2019 Australian on-sale date with a new platform, new styling and much-needed new technology. 

The new-generation 1 Sereis model is based on the same UKL platform as the Mini range, as well as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and X1 and X2 SUVs. That means it's now made in front- and all-wheel drive, where the previous model was rear-wheel drive.

Measuring 4319mm long, 1799mm wide, 1434mm tall and with a 2670mm wheelbase, the new model is 5mm shorter, 34mm wider, 13mm taller and features a 20mm longer wheelbase than the previous model. 

Those dimensions - and BMW's claims - suggest the new 1 Series is much more spacious than the pervious model. Boot space has grown by 20 litres to 380L, and 1200L is available with the seats folded, which is now optionally available with a 40/20/40 split. 

The 1 Series cabin is more advanced than before. The 1 Series cabin is more advanced than before.

For the first time, Australian-spec 1 Series models will be available with all-wheel drive and the M135i xDrive will top the range. 

Globally just five models are available for the moment - more are sure to come - with the 118i and M135i xDrive the only petrol choices. The 118i uses a 103kW/220Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine, and the M135i xDrive uses a 225kW/450Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. 

A seven-speed dual-clutch auto will be standard on the 118i, and the M135i xDrive gets an eight-speed auto, while the 118i lists combined fuel consumption of 5.0-5.7L/100km and the M135i xDrive 6.8-7.1L/100km.

On the overseas diesel front, an 85kW/270Nm 116d, 110kW/350Nm 118d and 140kW/400Nm 120d xDrive will be available, but diesels are unlikely to be offered locally as they were cut from the range in 2018. 

The 1 Series boot has grown in size to 380-litres. The 1 Series boot has grown in size to 380-litres.

Available technology in the new BMW 1 Series has been improved significantly with full auto emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert standard across the range - all features unavailable with the current model.

Optionally available tech includes adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, automatic parking, a 464W 16-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, a dual-10.25-inch driver’s display/multimedia system touchscreen set up, a 9.2-inch heads-up display, a powered tailgate and a panoramic roof.

The rear of the new 1 Series borrows from other BMW models. The rear of the new 1 Series borrows from other BMW models.

BMW Australia has confirmed that the new 1 Series will be launching locally the fourth quarter of 2019 with pricing and specs to be revealed before then.

Do you like the look of the new BMW 1 Series? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.