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.

Our Verdict

BMW 1 Series review hero front

A final facelift for the rear-wheel drive BMW 1 Series, as it aims to take class honours from the formidable Audi A3 and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class

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Comments
8

23 June 2017
Nurburgring Nurburgring Nurburgring Nurburgring
Autonomous autonomous autonomous autonomous.

There you are Autocar - your next article already writen for you.

23 June 2017
If you're a spy photographer, you've no need to go to Africa or the Arctic to spot new models, just hang around the Nurburgring!

23 June 2017
Are they really fitting a straight six turbo engine into a front wheel drive car, or are they making a four cylinder M340? Either of these seems very surprising.

24 June 2017
I really think that car makers just copy each other as matter of course,granted its what's under the body that counts,but,to us punters who shell out for them,it's got to look half decent on the outside!

Peter Cavellini.

25 June 2017
RIP BMW.

25 June 2017
The new 1 Series if it does indeed become FWD will be based on the UKL platform like the current Mini range and 2 Series Tourer/Van. Therefore it will have a transverse engine and FWD. So how will BMW if the 3 litre straight six turbo from the M340i into a transverse engine bay? They will not. That means any M Performance version of this car must have a four cylinder engine mounted transversely. Just think about what you are writing Autocar and stop the drivel and Nurburgring, Autonomous, Nurburgring, Autonomous nonsense while you are at it.

28 June 2017
Well said. This new 1 series is not going to have the straight six mounted transversely across its snout so something has to give. It will probably have the engine from the JCW Mini.

28 June 2017
Well said. This new 1 series is not going to have the straight six mounted transversely across its snout so something has to give. It will probably have the engine from the JCW Mini.

27 June 2017
Will it be based on this One? Probably.

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