The One to watch

BMW has unveiled its all-new second-generation 1 Series, ahead of its Australian launch in November.

The new F20 replaces the original E87 model’s Chris-Bangle-influenced flame-surfaced styling direction with new design chief Adrian van Hooydonk’s softer, more conservative ‘layering’ theme.

This 1 Series remains rear-wheel-drive-only, with new 1.6-litre turbo petrol and 2.0-litre turbo diesel engines hooking up to six-speed manual or (first in class) eight-speed auto transmissions.

Although longer and wider than the original, the new One is no taller. To improve handling, its front and rear track has been widened considerably – by 51mm/72mm front-rear, despite only 17mm extra body width.

New tech gear includes web/Facebook apps for the optional iDrive, the availability of vario-ratio steering (but not adaptive dampers) and a standard engine/throttle-altering ‘performance control’ switch, with Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings.

Expect prices to remain in the $40-60K bracket. The all-new 1 Series will feature in Wheels, July issue, out Wednesday July 15th, with full details of BMW’s planned high-performance variants. Stay tuned.

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