2020 BMW 1-Series Begins Its Striptease

by under News on 17 May 2019 11:00:44 AM17 May 2019

Shame it’s hiding a front-driven powertrain.

2020 BMW 1-Series Begins Its Striptease – Gallery

The time has come for BMW’s much-loved (but infrequently-sold) 1-Series hatchback to make its move from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive, on the back of loud and clear demands by customers for more passenger space, better practicality, and improved consumption & emissions. The new model, coded internally as ‘F40,’ has already been seen doing its rounds at BMW’s proving grounds in Miramas but now, it’s pulling back its visually-protective covers and revealing itself, one patch at a time.

These images were shared by BMW on Instagram, featuring a 1er prototype sans any body cladding, with bits of its pearl-white paint finished revealed, beginning with the roof. The social media updates reveal a pair of headlights that clearly take the hexagonal light signature from the newest BMW models, flanking a larger one-piece kidney grille that feature active shutters for improved aerodynamics. There’s also a surprisingly intricate front bumper with a near full-width blacked-out lower section, which highlights a pair of body-coloured ‘tusks’ that outline the fog-light surrounds.

2020 BMW 1-Series Begins Its Striptease – Gallery

Round the rear you’ll find a rather distinctive pair of taillights with an internal design element that curves upwards before coming back down again, a way for BMW to keep the 1er’s design in line with the rest of the range without having to create (expensive, complex) 3D-effect taillights.

It’s highly likely that the vehicle that’s slowly revealing itself to the camera is not the top-spec M135i xDrive variant, given the number of leaked photographs of that variant that have been circulating online. The top M-badged cars feature grey grille surrounds and more aggressive bumpers, whereas this looks like a tamer and more reasonable looking model.

We’ve been spoilt with a glimpse of the cabin, which reveals a fully-digital instrument cluster powered by OS7.0, as evidenced by the dial design. What’s also obvious is that the steering wheel is an all-new design, lacking the ‘indicator’ lights above the steering-wheel controls that tell you about the status of the car’s self-driving functions. This again indicates that the 1er being teased is a bread-and-butter model rather than a top-flight all-bells-and-whistles version, as there’s little doubt in our minds that BMW would want to throw all its latest ADAS tech into this thing if given the chance.

2020 BMW 1-Series Begins Its Striptease – Gallery

The big change with the 1-Series, as we mentioned earlier, will be the migration to the FAAR architecture (which means ‘frontantriebsarchitektur,’ or front-wheel drive architecture). Shared with the MINI range, this will give the new 1er access to the full range of transversely-mounted 3- and 4-banger mills, topping out with the 2.0-litre M135i with 225kW and 450Nm running the same engine as in the X2 M35i. Considering that that SUV can hit 100km/h in just 4.9-seconds, can you imagine how blisteringly-fast the new 1er is going to be?

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