The F20 1 Series First Hand Account

While in Munich recently I had a chance to see quite a few examples of the F20 1 Series hatch. While I don ‘t have photos (it ‘s a little rude to whip out your camera when you ‘re invited inside BMW HQ) I do have some first hand impressions. As we ‘ve reported here in the past the interior is getting a significant upgrade in quality of materials. The new look will be much closer to the X3, 5 and 7 series interior design and layout. In fact every F20 I saw the dash of had at least a small screen a la the X3. Could the F20 get a display standard? Based on what I saw and what we ‘ve heard I believe so. And it would make sense considering we expect the F30 3 Series to get the same standard screen. As on the X3 and 5 Series, ticking the navigation box would give you the wide screen display sen in the X3.

Outside the shape is much more handsome than the previous 1er hatch. The three door especially has a great shape do it with the higher belt line making it feel slightly more coupe like. I also had a chance to see a camoflauged M Sport three door 1er with 18 ” wheels. While the M Sport details were well covered you could get the idea that this will follow the tradition of the recent E90 design. The wheels were new and (as customary) painted black to hide many of the details.

One thing that was easy to spot is that the new F20 is noticeably taller and wider than the outgoing 1 Series. At one point I happened upon the two parked directly next to each other and was surprised that I could so easily see difference.

BMW will release the new F20 1 Series in 3 and 5 door varieties later this year. The engine range will start with the 3 cylinder turbo unit and span the current 2.0L petrol turbo. As you can imagine there will be a handful of diesels in there as well.

A year later BMW will release the Coupe shortly followed by the convertible. But what of the rumors that BMW will move the coupe and convertible upmarket and even change the name to the 2 Series? The idea is that it would help avoid confusion with the new family of FWD models also marketed under the 1 Series brand. It would also help in moving the cars slightly upmarket to correspond with a much higher level of premium options that will be available.

What does this all mean for the next generation 1M you ask? While details are scarce we expect the car to become slightly more tame (ie less wide rear fenders thanks to the wider standard car). We also expect the car to be more refined thanks to a longer development cycle and less of a need to reuse the very wide M3 subframe and suspension. What about engines? M could use a high performance twin turbo four cylinder in place of a six cylinder to keep costs and weight down. But would buyers give up more power for less weight? It’s an intriguing thought but one that is very much rumor at this point. In fact the only thing we can say for certain is that the car won’t use the N54 engine in the current 1M.

Image courtesy of Worldcarfans

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  • txdesign

    So the F20 is still RWD, right?

  • JonPD

    Less than impressed by the growth of the 1 series. Quite hondestly the 1 series was the last of the prior generation of cars from BMW that I had any enthusiasm for buying. Not surprised by the move since BF pointed this out long ago as impending. In a great many ways I think BMW has taken their brand in a direction that I cannot follow. As the F20 is likely to be a 2 series car and I am incredibly not interested in turbo four cylinders I think my future lives mostly in BMW past. Bigger Motor Works strikes again.

  • Gabe

    Yes the F20 is RWD.

    In the subject of tue F20 getting larger… Larger doesn’t always equal more weight.

  • goat

    As a miata and MINI enthusiast, I lament cars growing more than most but I suspect the “relative” size of the car will appear small parked next to an F30, just as current e82 is much smaller than an e92. As a 4door hatch/wagon the larger size will be welcome, but as a coupe I am less convinced… the e82 is a nice intimate size and if grown much bigger will necessarily become more “GT” in feel (like the e92). We’ll see.

    As for weight, I agree… cars can and do grow in redesigns but with careful engineering and material selection can end up at similar curb weight. Among the German OEMs, Audi embarked on this design approach first (A6 – current, A8 – last gen and current, A4 – not so much, the car has become a technically impressive but ginormous tank) but I can see BMW moving to the lead on this with their next generation of vehicles (F20, F30).

  • Tom

    Nice, as long as they de-uglify the 1-series, I’ll be happy.

  • JonPD

    There is more to growing than weight to contend with. Higher and wider generally means a higher drag coefficient. Also higher pushes the load higher as well which is never good for a car. I am sure they will design a good car though the bigger is better mentality is just plainly sickening. Give it another 20 yeas and at this rate the 7 series will be a bus and we will have a .1 series BMW that is still larger than the E46 cars lol.

    • @JonPD- since BMW has invested mega bucks in their own wind tunnel every car is now being tweaked infinitely more to lessen drag.

      The F10 is bigger in every way when compared to the E60 yet it punches a smaller hole in the air.

      There is no doubt the F20 will be bigger but it will also be more efficient. Even if the car weighs the same or even a bit more it will be better on fuel and handling thanks to the aero.

      It is amazing what they do now- had an E92 on a lift last week and couldn’t believe the little things they do to make aerodynamically better, it is crazy!

      I get what you are saying about cars not being as close quarters and intimate.


  • Chris

    Gabe, I think you forgot to close the image tag at the hed. The whole article is a link.

  • lava

    I’m lost – so there will be 3 and 5 door F20s called 1 series? And later a coupe and vert F20 but will be 2 series. And then 3 and 5 door FWD platform 1 series as well? Somebody set me straight.

    The 3 cylinder turbo – is this the same plant heading for the Mini? If so, I am glad to see it going into production cars so soon. It will be nice to have the engine well sorted when it lands in Mini in 3-4 yrs.

  • Is there any chance that BMW come to their senses and bring the new 1 hatch to the US? I love my 1 coupe but I can only drive my MINI whenever I have to haul anything larger than a small box!

    • Ded

      I wish they would but keep reading no.

  • Gabe

    I’m lost – so there will be 3 and 5 door F20s called 1 series? And later a coupe and vert F20 but will be 2 series. And then 3 and 5 door FWD platform 1 series as well? Somebody set me straight.

    Yes the F20 family will include a three and five door hatch, a coupe and convertible and possible a coupe-like four door. The coupe and convertible are rumored to be called the 2 Series. Then there will be a another family of smaller BMW’s based on MINI architecture that will be FWD and/or AWD. We don’t know what these will be called but 1001 has been strongly rumored.

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