New M135i xDrive performance hero confirmed, featuring a 225kW turbo petrol engine and all-wheel traction.

BMW has offered a early look at the next-generation 1 Series hatchback, publishing a series of camouflaged prototype photos and releasing preliminary details of the new model.

The company says the new 1er "will set new standards in the premium compact class in terms of driving dynamics, while also offering significantly more space inside".

We already know the next-gen 1 Series will move away from the current model's rear-drive layout to a version of the UKL modular platform that underpins the X1 and X2 SUVs, along with the Mini range.

In addition to front-wheel drive, BMW will offer xDrive all-wheel drive on certain variants.

Headlining the 1 Series range will be the new M135i xDrive M Performance flagship, powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine making 225kW. It's the same high-output unit used in the new X2 M35i xDrive, which makes 450Nm of torque.

Given the X2 can hit 100km/h in a claimed 4.9 seconds, we'd expect the smaller and lighter M135i xDrive to shave a few tenths.

As for the improved interior space as mentioned above, BMW claims the new 1 Series will offer 33mm more legroom in the rear, along with 19mm better rear headroom. Luggage capacity has also increased to 380L (up 20L).

The company says the enhanced interior practicality is afforded by the new front-drive architecture, with its transverse engine layout and low centre tunnel.

Finally, the 1 Series will come standard with actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation, also known as ARB technology, which makes its debut in a combustion-powered vehicle – it was first seen in the BMW i3s.

The slip control system is positioned directly in the engine control unit for the stability control function, which BMW says passes on information three times faster, which translates to up to 10 times faster regulation speed perceived by the driver.

By including this system, the company claims power understeer is significantly reduced – a common experience with front-wheel drive vehicles – though it comes without the control intervention to stabilise lateral dynamics.

This system is bolstered by BMW Performance Control, or yaw movement distribution, which is said to further increase the vehicle's agility with torque vectoring via braking.

"Through this extensive integration of all driving dynamics-related aspects as well as the new, innovative traction control feature, we are creating a completely novel driving experience," said Holger Stauch, project manager for the 1 Series.

Further details regarding BMW's next-generation small car will come to light closer to reveal, which is anticipated for later this year.

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