The updated BMW 1 Series could gain some hybrid powertrains to keep it fresh
The facelifted version of the third-generation BMW 1 Series is in development and these latest images give us our best look yet at the revised premium hatch. We can also see a hot M135i update is on the way to rival the likes of the new Honda Civic Type R and Audi S3.
In its mid-life update, BMW’s premium hatch will receive a suite of interior and exterior tweaks. Our latest batch of spy imagery reveals more on the former, showing the M135i hot hatch will get new quad exhausts, a wider grille more inline with the new 2 Series and new bumpers front and back.
The larger air intakes at the front could mean the M135i requires additional cooling for its turbocharging system – potentially as a result of more power being squeezed out of it’s 301bhp, 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The drivetrain will remain the same, with power sent to all four wheels.
We’ve also caught the standard 1 Series facelift testing as well. A new front grille will be the biggest design change, as well the combination of new bumpers all around and a tweaked headlight and rear light signature.
Inside the new 1 Series we can already see alterations from the current car’s technology. We’re almost certainly going to get the same 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and 10.25-inch touchscreen taken from the new 2 Series. The iDrive rotary controller will be removed in favour of a touch-only screen as BMW plans to reserve the feature for its larger models. The gear lever has also been shrunk from the usual stick shape to a small nub.
The current BMW 1 Series sits on the same UKL2 platform as the second-generation X1 SUV – recently replaced by a new third-generation X1. We won’t see a fully-electric 1 Series just yet, with BMW positioning the upcoming iX1 as the firm’s smallest EV.
It’s certainly possible that the 1 Series facelift will feature some form of hybrid technology for the first time, however. The 1 Series range could expand to include a plug-in hybrid engine option based on the 10kWh battery supported setup in the outgoing X1. This would likely deliver more than the old X1’s 30 miles of electric-only range thanks to the smaller proportions and better aerodynamic efficiency of the 1 Series.
These hybrid options would complement a number of three and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines in the new 1 Series engine range when the car goes on sale sometime in 2023.