The 2019 BMW 1 Series has been snapped during cold-weather testing in Scandinavia.

Although it won't be the first front-wheel drive BMW – that honour goes to the 2 Series Active Tourer and X1 – the new 1 Series hatchback will be the first 'core range' car to ditch rear-drive.

When it arrives, the new 1 Series will be built on the BMW UKL architecture used for the Mini range, along with the Chinese-market 1 Series sedan.

Unfortunately, the majority of the car is still wrapped up in heavy camouflage, so it's hard to know what it'll look like. But the switch to front-wheel drive should free up more boot- and rear-seat space, bringing the car into line with rivals from Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Power will be supplied by a selection of BMW three- and four-cylinder engines, both in petrol and diesel, along with a plug-in hybrid setup. A pure-electric model is also rumoured to be in development, too.

Where the last car we spied sat on low-profile tyres, and ran with fat dual exhaust tips, this one appears to be a less powerful variant.

The next-generation 1 Series will likely debut next year, which would suggest it could arrive in Australia late-2018 or early-2019.