The BMW 1 Series Is Now Front-Drive and Offers up to 302 HP

We won't get this new hatch, but it does point to our eventual 2 Series Gran Coupe.

BMW has just now revealed the new front-wheel-drive 1 Series hatchback, although we'll note up front there are no current plans to offer the 1 Series in the U.S. But the new 1er can still teach us a lot about what to expect from the forthcoming 2 Series Gran Coupe that we will get.

The new 1 Series hatch's styling, for example, points to how that eventual sedan will look, and the more sophisticated style falls in line with that of larger members of the BMW lineup. It adopts a larger kidney grille with the elements being connected in the middle, the head- and taillights are slimmer, and large 19-inch wheels are now available as an option. Along with an M Sport model and the M135i, there is also a Sport Line version with black accents, a Luxury Line with aluminum accents, and a base Advantage model.

Horsepower tops out at 302 from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder found in the M135i, which also gets upgraded brakes, a limited-slip differential, and its own steering and suspension tuning. (Four additional engines will be available in Europe.) Three different suspensions can be had across the lineup, including standard, M Sport with a 0.4 inch reduction in ride height, and an adaptive setup. All 1 Series hatches use a multilink rear axle, and available transmissions include a six-speed manual, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and an eight-speed automatic.

Inside the cabin, BMW promises improved head and knee room for rear occupants, as well as more cargo capacity behind the rear seats. A power liftgate is now available, as is an electric panoramic roof with backlit trim strips that light up in six different colors.

The BMW's increased interior space is the result of a new architecture. The 1 Series shifts from a rear-drive layout to BMW's front-drive-based UKL platform, which is also found underneath Mini's models and supports all-wheel drive as an option. It's a shame this model won't make it to the U.S., especially given the likelihood that an even hotter M version is in the works. The 1-series—and the 2 Series Gran Coupe—will compete against the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A- and CLA-classes.