A prototype believed to be the next-generation 2019 BMW 1 Series has made its debut at the iconic Nurburgring race track this week.
Compared to the vehicle spied in May, the 1 Series mule spied on track features a new front bumper with a radar sensor – likely for autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and radar cruise control systems – and different alloy wheels. The rest of its disguise remains largely the same.
What’s most important about BMW’s next-gen small car, is that it will be front- and all-wheel drive rather than rear-wheel drive like the current car, sharing its UKL platform with everything from the 2 Series Active Tourer and X1, to the entire Mini range.
While enthusiasts may cringe at the thought of BMW switching from rear- to front-wheel drive, it does mean the 1 Series should be more practical inside, particularly in terms of rear passenger room and luggage capacity.
Another sting is that the next 1 Series will be three- and four-cylinder only, meaning the current M140i with its turbo straight six is the last of a breed.
It’s believed a range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines will be offered, along with potential plug-in hybrid and all-electric versions.
The car in the images is likely to be the performance oriented M140i xDrive, which will switch out the current version’s 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive for a high-output four-cylinder turbo and all-wheel drive – thanks to its large wheels, dual exhaust outlets and aggressive bumper treatments.
In terms of timing, the new 1 Series is expected to make its debut sometime next year. Considering the current car just got a refresh and won’t be here until around September, don’t expect the next-generation BMW small hatch range to arrive in local showrooms until late 2018 or early 2019.