It’s interesting to note that BMW’s press material for this new ‘F40’ 1 Series only references the fact that it’s now primarily front-wheel drive just once.
Perhaps Munich might still be nervous of a backlash from any disgruntled brand traditionalists, despite what it’s come to learn about the people who actually buy the 1 Series. Regardless, BMW’s smallest model is now based on the same UKL2 mechanical model architecture that underpins the likes of the X1, X2 and Mini Clubman. Proportionally, it’s now shorter than its predecessor (in terms of both overall length and wheelbase), while also being both wider and taller.
This also sees the 1 Series switch from longitudinal to exclusively transverse-mounted engines for the first time. One three and two four-cylinder powerplants make up the diesel line-up, in the 116d, 118d and 120d xDrive (read all-wheel drive) models, with power outputs ranging from 114bhp to 188bhp. On the petrol front, there’s the range-topping M135i xDrive and the 1.5-litre three-cylinder fitted to our entry-level 118i.