BMW is giving its entry-level hatchback an update to keep it fresh against the redesigned BMW A3.
Photographers have captured what appear to be prototypes of the facelifted BMW 1 Series hatchback for the first time.
These heavily camouflaged vehicles were parked in a lot beside a Mini Clubman, with which the 1 Series shares a platform.
Our spy photographers believe road testing of the updated 1 Series will start soon, which points to a potential debut in 2023.
The current generation 1 Series was revealed in 2019 and launched locally the year after.
It’s unclear if BMW will update the engine line-up in this facelifted model. In Australia, the 1 Series range is currently powered exclusively by turbocharged petrol engines.
118i models are powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine producing 103kW of power and 220Nm of torque, mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the 128ti uses a 2.0-litre turbo four with 180kW, 380Nm and an eight-speed torque-converter automatic.
Only the M135i xDrive Pure and M135i xDrive models are all-wheel drive, and produce 225kW and 450Nm. They also use an eight-speed auto.
In other markets there’s also a range of three- and four-cylinder turbo-diesel powertrains available.
It’s unclear at this stage but BMW could introduce a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain to the 1 Series as well.
The German automaker locally offers a PHEV powertrain in the 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, X3 and X5, while the rival Mercedes-Benz A-Class is offered in PHEV form.
An all-electric version is less likely, at least for this generation, though there’s a hole in BMW’s line-up where the quirky i3 sat before it was discontinued locally.
From the front, these facelifted BMW 1 Series prototypes seem to have a redesigned front fascia with slimmer and rounder headlights.
There’s a large radar box that appears to bridge the gap between the kidney grille sections. These grille inserts seem to be a similar size as the exisiting 1er.
The rear of these 1 Series prototypes is still covered in a lot of camouflage. The main difference is a redesigned rear bumper, and we should expect to see updated tail lights, too.
We’ve yet to see a photo of the interior but the facelifted 1 Series could be yet another BMW to receive a “curved dash”, with the digital instrument cluster and infotainment touchscreen contained in one wraparound assembly.
BMW is rolling out this design feature across its range, though the previously spied next-generation X1 prototype’s dual screen set-up appears to be smaller than those in the i4 and iX.
These two all-electric BMW models have a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The third-generation F40 1 Series has been on sale in Australia since 2019. It’s the first generation of 1 Series to use the UKL2 front-/all-wheel drive architecture, with all previous generations using a rear-wheel drive platform.
This UKL2 platform is also used on the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe, X1 and X2, as well as the Mini Countryman and Clubman.
Since the launch of the current generation, BMW has introduced the hot front-wheel drive 128ti and has revealed a tweaked M135i xDrive variant.
Due in the first quarter of 2022, the updated M135i xDrive receives more camber on the front wheels, a new mount for the front suspension wishbones, redesigned mounts for the rear trailing and control arms, and a new exhaust system. Nothing has changed under the bonnet though.
MORE: Everything BMW 1 Series