The next BMW 1 Series isn’t expected to land for another two years, but we’ve already spotted a development car donning an aggressive new look
These are the first pictures of the next BMW 1 Series, spotted testing at the Nürburgring in hot M-badged guise ahead of its launch in two years’ time.
The more aggressively-styled and higher-powered 1 Series seen here will likely retain the M140i name, while BMW reserves the M1 badge for its hallowed former supercar. Large twin exhausts and deep air intakes mark the M140i out from the regular 1 Series.
Despite the heavy camouflage cladding, the 1 Series will maintain the current model’s long nose, sloping roofline and large wheels. What’s different, though, is the advent of front-wheel drive.
Currently, the 1 Series range is rear-wheel drive, but the new front-wheel drive M140i could make it one of the most powerful such hot hatches on the market. The current M140i has 335bhp; 34bhp more than the four-wheel drive Ford Focus RS, but 20bhp less than the Mercedes-AMG A45 4Matic. An M140i xDrive may become the 1 Series’ performance pinnacle, though, just as the M5 super-saloon has gone four-wheel drive.
The next 3 Series‘ warmed-up M340i variant is mooted to have 360bhp, so the M140i may share this engine, and likely the power figure, as well as the badging. A similar 320bhp diesel model is planned for the 3 Series; this engine may also make it to the 1 Series range.
In terms of styling, the next 1 Series is likely to draw heavily from that of the 5 Series, which presented BMW’s new family face upon its reveal in October 2016. The brand’s generation-to-generation tweaking means that it’ll be a subtle change instead of a revolution, though.
Given the time between now and the 1 Series’ launch in 2019, details remain scarce, but a 2019 Frankfurt motor show reveal is a prime candidate; it’ll be the biggest motor show of that year.