2019 BMW 1 Series price, specs and release date

Russell Campbell
April 04, 2019

BMW has revealed official test pics of the new BMW 1 Series being put through its paces in Mirimas, France. Keep reading for all you need to know – including the price, specs and release date – of BMW’s VW Golf beater.

  • Official prototype

    2019 BMW 1 Series

  • Specs include

    sporty handling; more interior space

  • Release date and price

    Public reveal in September; from around £22,000

These latest pictures show the 2019 BMW 1 Series being put through its paces in Southern France, where, according to BMW, ‘the facilities diverse handling tracks offer the optimal conditions for refining [the car’s] agility and dynamics’. Particularly important in this new model because it’ll be the first 1 Series to be front-wheel drive, rather than getting the rear-wheel drive that’s always been fitted to BMW’s saloons and hatchbacks in the past.

Dropping the sporty rear-wheel-drive setup will, says BMW, allow for more interior space. It also says ‘cutting edge suspension setup, innovative technologies and the integration of all driving dynamics’ will actually make the new car more agile than the old model it replaces. Much of that is down to a new traction control system that is three times quicker than before. But you also get BMW Performance Control fitted as standard – effectively a torque-vectoring system that helps keep the car neat and tidy when you dart into quick bends – and increased body stiffening that helps make the 1 Series feel more responsive in corners.

As well as being the first 1 Series that’s front-wheel drive, the new model will also be the first to be offered with grippy four-wheel drive as an option – allowing it to compete on a level playing field with four-wheel drive hot hatches like the Audi s3 and Mercedes-AMG A35.  That particular responsibility will fall to the M135i xDrive which gets a 306hp 2.0-litre petrol engine which can return fuel economy of more than 40mpg and should get the car from 0-62mph in less than five seconds.

For now, though, that’s all that BMW has confirmed, but keep reading below to get a fuller idea of exactly what you can expect from the new 1 Series. 

2019 BMW 1 Series price and release date

Don’t expect the car’s head-to-toe revamp to be reflected in the price, the new BMW 1 Series will likely cost the same as the current version, which starts from £22,000. That’ll get you a basic 1 Series with around 150hp, but you can expect high-performance versions to cost more than £30,000. The BMW 1 Series will be publicly revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September this year, but you’ll have to wait another year for performance orientated and hybrid cars.

2019 BMW 1 Series styling

The 2019  BMW 1 Series will be all new under the skin, but you can expect it to be easily recognisable as the outgoing car’s replacement – not that these spy pics give much away. What will change is that the current car’s most recognisable features will be accentuated. That’ll start with the grille that – in common with all new BMWs at the moment – is likely to get bigger and bolder with ‘kidney’ elements that meet in the middle rather than being separated by bodywork. Next up are the car’s headlights. They’ll likely get white-light-emitting LED bulbs as standard, with kinked housings as we’ve already seen in the new 3 Series. Expect M Sport cars to get a front bumper that’s significantly more aggressive than the current versions. Side on, the cars spotted by our spies feature black body cladding that hides a crease that runs from the front to the rear wheels to break up the large expanse of metal on the car’s flanks – making it look more muscular. In common with the 3 Series, you can expect the new 1 Series to get large ‘grab’ style door handles that make getting in and out easy. Alloy wheels, meanwhile, are likely to range from 17 to 19 inches in size. Around the back of the 1 Series, you’ll get now customary glowing LED tail lights that’ll make the car stand out at night and a sporty boot-mounted spoiler. Most versions will also get twin exhaust pipes that’ll make for a refreshing change to the fake plastic efforts you’ll find on a Mercedes A-Class.

2019 BMW 1 Series interior

The 2019 BMW 1 Series is set to make vast improvements on the infotainment offered on the current model. You’ll be able to have it with two huge screens – one central touchscreen and a digital display that replaces conventional dials behind the steering wheel. Aside from imputing instructions into the touchscreen, the 1 Series will understand voice controls and gesture commands. It’ll also keep the handy iDrive control, which might look a little old hat, but actually makes it easy to operate the infotainment without taking your eyes off the road. BMW is likely to offer cloud-based services as standard. As a result, the 1 Series will be able to route around traffic jams and find you a parking space as you approach your destination. Packing the interior with large displays means the 2019 BMW 1 Series won’t need so many conventional buttons. In their place, you’re likely to find loads of classy metal trim pieces – including large swathes on the doors, centre console and prominently across the centre of the dashboard. Even regular plastics will feel softer and more expensive to the touch. Hit the options list and you’ll also find leather upholstery and mood lighting.

2019 BMW 1 Series practicality

This will be the first BMW 1 Series to be offered without rear-wheel drive and while that will make the car less fun to drive (more on that later), the benefit is that it’ll make it a lot more practical inside. That’ll even be felt in the front because the new setup allows BMW to fit the engine sideways (transversely) into the engine bay, freeing up more room for the passenger compartment and in particular front leg and knee room – because the gearbox no longer sits between you and your passenger. The floor in the back of the car should also be flatter, so there will be more room for everyone’s feet if you’re carrying three and BMW has confirmed that the new 1 Series will offer 19mm more headroom and 30mm more legroom. BMW has also confirmed that boot space – a particular weakness of the current 1 Series– will also increase by 20 litres to 380 litres. It should also be significantly more easy to load with a flat load lip and a larger boot opening. You’ll also likely get a perfectly level floor when you fold down the back seats to make it easy slide bulky luggage straight into place. Factor in a full array of smaller cubbies, including a tray for your phone with a USB plug and optional wireless charging, door pockets and various other cubbies, and you can expect the 1 Series to make an about turn. From being one of the least practical cars of this size to becoming one of the most practical.

2019 BMW 1 Series engines and driving

The downside of the 2019 BMW 1 Series’ new mechanical packaging is that if you enjoyed sliding about on the throttle in the old 1 Series, those kinds of antics will now be off the menu. That’s not to say the BMW won’t be fun to drive, mind, expect it to have sharp steering, plenty of front-end grip and controls that are weighted perfectly for rewardingly smooth driving. Engines will, for the most part, be carried over from the current car, so you’ll be able to choose from nippy but cheap-to-run 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrols, faster 2.0-litre petrols and 2.0-litre diesels that’ll be a good option if you have a high annual mileage and often drive on the motorway.

Something new to the 1 Series will be a petrol-electric, plug-in hybrid. It gets a 136hp 1.5-litre petrol engine in combination with an 88hp electric motor – for spritely performance, but also an electric-only range of 25 miles. That would make the 1 Series exempt from paying London’s congestion charge.

While there’s good news for Greens, the future’s not so rosy for enthusiasts. That’s because the howling six-cylinder, turbocharged 3.0-litre engine in the current M140i is set for the scrap – to be replaced with a humdrum four-cylinder in the new M135i xDrive that’ll offer 306hp and improved fuel economy. With rear-wheel drive no longer an option, the new M135 i gets four-wheel-drive to match alternatives such as the Mercedes-AMG A35 and the Audi S3.

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