The shift to front-wheel drive has brought about a $4000 increase in starting price for the new 1 Series.
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BMW has revealed pricing and specs for its new front-drive 1 Series, which will kick off at $42,990 before on-road costs when it arrives before the end of 2019.

A pair of 1 Series models will be offered at launch starting with the 118i, priced from $42,990 before on-road costs. That's a $4000 increase over the outgoing model, although the new 1er promises to deliver more space, more pace and more standard kit for the extra spend.

Power comes from a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine making 103kW and 220Nm, good for an 8.5-second sprint to 100km/h. That power is put to the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as standard.

As standard the 118i comes with the M Sport Package, which brings a 'M' steering wheel, sports seats trimmed in cloth and 'sensatec' fake leather, and a black headliner. Also standard are 18-inch M alloy wheels.

The entire 1 Series range will offer lane-keeping assist, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert standard, along with parking sensors at both ends, a rear-view camera, parking assistant and BMW's reversing assist tech.

Infotainment is handled by BMW OS7.0, a dual-screen shot at the high-tech MBUX infotainment arch-nemesis Mercedes debuted on the A-Class. Two 10.25-inch displays and a head-up display will feature on every 1 Series, while a year of wireless Apple CarPlay is included as well. Ambient lighting, wireless phone charging, and a six-speaker sound system also feature.

Options include a Comfort Package ($2300, electrically operated, heated front seats with lumbar support, keyless entry), the Driver Assistance Package ($1000, active cruise with stop/go, adaptive LED headlights, tyre-pressure monitoring), and the M Sport Plus Package ($2100, M Sport Seats, M Rear Spoiler, M Seat Belts, M Sports Steering Wheel, M Sport Brakes).

There's also a Convenience Package ($1200, electric boot, boot storage net, through-loading).

Moving up to the M135i xDrive bumps the starting price to $63,990 before on-road costs. The extra spend brings about a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 225kW and 450Nm, put to all four wheels through an adaptive M xDrive all-wheel drive system.

An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, and the 100km/h sprint takes just 4.8 seconds.

Atop the standard equipment offered on the 118i, the M135i gains a more aggressive exterior treatment including 19-inch alloy wheels, M Sport Brakes, M Sport Steering, and an M Rear Spoiler. The driver and passenger sit cocooned in M Sport seats with built-in headrests, trimmed in Dakota leather.

Adaptive LED headlights with high-beam assist are standard, along with keyless entry and start, and a 16-speaker surround sound system.

Options mimic those of the 118i, but prices vary. The Enhancement Package ($2900, metallic paint, panoramic glass roof, adaptive cruise) is available, along with the Comfort Package ($923), and Convenience Package ($1200).

Compared to its predecessor, the new 1 Series promises to be a more practical, comfortable take on the hatchback formula. The move to front-drive has helped liberate more knee room down back, a redesigned sunroof frees up 19mm more headroom, and the boot has grown from 360L to 380L in this generation.

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2020 BMW 1 Series pricing

  • 118i - $42,990
  • M135i - $63,990

All prices exclude on-road costs.