It looks like we are set to welcome the all-new F40 BMW 1 Series really soon, as BMW Malaysia has teased the W177 Mercedes-Benz A-Class rival on its official social media accounts. We really mean soon, as an official launch date has been set for July 24, which is tomorrow!
The third-generation 1 Series first made its global premiere back in May 2019, marking a big shift for the model as it now rides on a front-wheel drive platform for the first time, specifically the FAAR (Frontantriebsarchitektur). This is different from the first two generations, which adopted a rear-wheel drive layout instead, but BMW says there are benefits to be had with this change.
The new architecture allows for 33 mm more kneeroom and 19 mm more headroom in the rear, while elbowroom is improved by 42 mm at the front and 13 mm at the rear. As for dimensions, the new 1er is now five mm shorter compared to the F20 at 4,319 mm. Additionally, the width is now 1,799 mm (+34 mm), the height now measures 1,434 mm (+13 mm), while the wheelbase has shrunk by 20 mm to 2,670 mm. It’s also lighter by some 30 kg, while boasting improved rigidity.
You won’t mistake the new 1er for any of its predecessors, as the switch to a transverse engine layout results in a shorter bonnet, giving the car less of a “bread van” look than before. For a better look at what’s new, BMW has already released a helpful comparison video, where we get to see the F40’s redesigned headlamps, a conjoined kidney grille, sleeker taillights and modernised interior.
In terms of variants, it looks like we will be getting the 1 Series in its range-topping M135i xDrive guise, based on what is shown in the teaser video. This uses BMW Group’s most powerful four-cylinder engine: a B48 2.0 litre turbocharged unit that develops 306 PS (302 hp) and 450 Nm, paired with an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. The M135i xDrive takes just 4.8 seconds to complete the zero to 100 km/h, with an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.
Should that be the case, it will go up against the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic that is offered in both hatchback and sedan body styles. Performance-wise, the A 35 takes 4.7 seconds (hatchback) or 4.8 seconds (sedan) to complete the century sprint, both with the same 250 km/h top speed. Like the BMW, the A 35 cars feature a 2.0 litre turbo four-pot with 306 PS (302 hp) and 400 Nm and all-wheel drive, but with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission instead.
In other markets, the 1 Series comes in a few diesel variants and a lesser 118i with a B38 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol unit rated at 140 PS (138 hp) and 220 Nm of torque. This can be paired to either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed torque converter Steptronic automatic.
With a launch date set, the only missing details are the exact specifications that we will get and most importantly, pricing. We clearly won’t need to wait long for an answer, but in the meantime, would you pick the new 1 Series over the A-Class? Discuss in the comments below.