After photos leaked online late last week, BMW has shown its hand and revealed the second-generation 1 Series hatchback. The five-door configuration BMW showed off will probably only be offered in Europe, as is the case with the current 1 Series hatch.
The basic DNA remains a rear-drive layout, premium cabin, and smart exterior styling. For the new model year, the 1 Series hatch grows 3.3 inches longer and 0.7 inch wider, with commensurate increases in wheelbase and track. The redesigned front fascia makes a significant break from prior 1 Series styling, with enlarged kidney grilles and new angular headlights. The design means there’s more exposed paint between the headlights and grille, making the nose appear wider than on its predecessor.
In profile, the 1 Series retains its long-hood and set-back cabin. BMW hopes the sloping rear-door glass and the C-pillar’s Hofmeister kink help to make the hatchback look more like a coupe. We’re not convinced about the new, 7 Series-esque beak, but this new 1 Series is still one of the sharpest compact cars on the market.
The overall design of the interior has been evolved rather than totally redesigned. The climate and audio controls now perch higher on the center stack and have a new, more upscale look. The passenger-side of the dashboard is now separate from the center stack and wears an upswept-curve styling flourish. BMW says rear passengers have more legroom, all passengers have more side-to-side space, and that trunk capacity is up almost 10 percent over the current 1 Series hatchback.
European markets have a choice of five updated four-cylinder engines, three diesels displacing 2.0 liters and two gasoline-fired mills displacing 1.6 liters. The 120d turbodiesel offers 184 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, and returns a claimed 52 mpg in the European combined cycle; the 118d offers 143 hp and 236 lb-ft, and is good for a claimed 53 mpg combined; the thrifty 116d provides only 116 hp and 192 lb-ft, but ekes out an impressive 55 mpg in European testing. The weaker gasoline engine, the 116i, touts 126 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque and is rated at 42 mpg combined, with the 118i offering 170 hp and 185 lb-ft while returning a claimed 41 mpg.
Each of the engines comes with engine stop-start technology, and can be mated either to a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. The new 1 Series also features an Eco Pro mode, which tailors the engine, transmission, and throttle response for better economy. At a later date, a special 116d EfficientDynamics trim will debut with up to 62 mpg and CO2 emissions of less than 99 grams per kilometer.
The new 1 Series hatchback goes on sale in Europe later this year. BMW has already unveiled a mildly refreshed 2012 1 Series coupe and convertible for our shores, so we probably won’t see any of these visual updates until a later date. And as ever, the hatchback version of BMW’s smallest model is unlikely to ever go on sale in the U.S. market.