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New BMW 1 Series unveiled; Australian release date confirmed

Olek Novak

BMW has pulled the covers off a heavily redesigned ‘new generation’ BMW 1 Series hatchback

BMW has revealed what it’s calling a new fourth-generation 1 Series hatchback, bringing with it revised exterior styling, updated powertrains and new interior technology.

While the update is substantial, the design is a re-working of the F40 generation 1 Series that has been on sale since 2019. However, rather than call this a mid-life facelift – or life-cycle impulse in BMW-speak – the brand has dubbed the vehicle a new-generation ‘F70’.

Significantly, the updated range – which will feature two variants at launch, the 118 and M135 xDrive, will also debut with BMW’s new numeral-only naming conventions for ICE models, dropping the ‘i’ which previously stood for petrol injection and which will now be reserved for electric models only.

BMW has revealed the new ‘F70’ 1 Series small hatch

Pricing for the new range is set to be announced in July, with customer vehicle deliveries scheduled to start in Q4 of this year. 

What’s new on the fourth-generation 1 Series?

The new 1 Series sports a re-styled body with new headlights on the front fascia as well as a new iteration of BMW’s kidney grille, which is now wider in appearance. 

The tail-lights have also been redesigned, and while the F40’s basic shape is still clearly visible, the exterior length has grown by 42mm and height by 25mm.

The updated vehicle is longer and higher than the previous F40 generation

A BMW-first, the 1 Series will also be available with an optional contrasting roof paint finish. 

Significant changes adorn the interior which brings its design in line with that of other current-generation BMWs including a new steering wheel, gear selector and the adoption of BMW’s curved display which incorporates both a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.7-inch multimedia display. 

The quantity of buttons in the centre console has also been reduced, with functionality such as the air conditioning now controlled digitally and the updated screens also house BMW’s latest Operating System 9 infotainment technology.

BMW has made significant updates to the 1 Series’ interior

What’s changing under the bonnet?

The 118 will continue to be powered by a inline-three cylinder turbo, making for 115kW/230N for the new model – a slight increase on the F40’s 103kW/220Nm.

It’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, with power sent to the front wheels.

Two 118 and M135 xDrive variants will be available at launch

Meanwhile, the all-wheel drive M135 xDrive features a turbo four-cylinder which makes for 233kW/400Nm. This is a bump in power but reduction in torque on the previous 1 Series’ 225kW/450Nm.

The M135 xDrive has a claimed 0-100km/h sprint of 4.9 seconds, and now comes with a seven speed dual-clutch automatic which replaces the previous M135i’s eight-speed torque converter.

BMW also says it has made further adjustments under the skin to increase body rigidity, with a revised chassis that incorporates highly preloaded anti-roll bar mounts and new shock absorber technology as well as other changes to the caster of the front wheels and the addition of an integrated braking system.

A 120 grade (pictured) will be available in Europe

A new iteration of the mid-spec Golf GTI-rivalling 128ti is absent for the time being, and unlike the X1 SUV – which offers a fully electric iX1 option – the 1 Series remains internal-combustion only for now. 

What do you get on each grade?

Selected features include:

BMW 118

  • 18-inch wheels
  • M Sport package
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • Adaptive M suspension
  • Power tailgate
  • Head-up display
  • 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 10.7-inch media display
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Lane change warning
  • Lane departure warning
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop & go
  • Rear cross traffic warning
  • Power drive and front passenger seats with driver memory
  • 360 camera
  • Reverse and Park Assistant
  • Heated driver and front passenger seats 
  • Wireless charging tray
Deliveries of the new 1 Series for Australia will begin by end of year

BMW M135 xDrive

  • 19-inch wheels
  • Massage function for driver and front passenger seats
  • Harman Kardon sound system
  • Panoramic glass sunroof
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Black roof
  • M rear spoiler
  • M Sport brake, dark blue metallic 
  • Driving Assistant Professional package