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Meet the all-new BMW 1-Series

The F70 1er is one handsome-looking fella

The F70-generation 1-Series is a sight for sore eyes. PHOTO FROM BMW

BMW has unveiled the latest 1-Series, the gateway to the Ultimate Driving Machines from Bavaria.

Available only as a five-door hatchback and internally designated as the F70, the fourth-generation 1er is made in BMW’s Leipzig factory in Eastern Germany. Europe, particularly Germany, is its biggest market, with Japan being in the top five.

The new 1er is a handsome-looking hatch. PHOTOS FROM BMW

The new 1er is larger. Length grows by 42mm to 4,361mm; width is at 1,800mm; height increases by 25mm to 1,459mm; and wheelbase remains at 2,670mm.

The face is an evolution of the previous-generation F40, but the trademark kidney grille has both longitudinal and diagonal lines.

Notice how the 'i' has been dropped from non-EV models? PHOTOS FROM BMW

The sporty and range-topping M135 has cleaner and bolder transverse grille. The base variants get a cleaner, simpler look, while the M Sport package adds a more aggressive front fascia and a more pronounced rear valance. The standard LED headlights get vertical design cues that serve as daytime running lights.

A contrasting black roof color is an option.

This is how future BMW cockpits will look like. PHOTOS FROM BMW

Inside, the latest 1er gets BMW’s new 10.25-inch curved information display for the driver and an even larger 10.7-inch control display for the in-car entertainment, cloud-based navigation and climate control system.

The latest version of iDrive with Quick Select function and BMW Operating System 9 are standard. Of course, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are included. BMW Digital Premium makes its appearance, allowing BMW owners to access country-specific apps for entertainment and navigation.

Regardless of trim, the 1er is a practical hatchback. PHOTOS FROM BMW

The rest of the interior features Econeer fabric covers as standard, made from recycled polyester fabrics. Perforated Veganza vegan-leather is also an option. The M Sport package and the M135i get the Veganza/Alcantara trim as standard.

For roominess, 380L of cargo space is standard with the rear seats up, but grows to 1,200L with the rear seats down. The diesels have a slightly smaller 300L/1,135L cargo space.

The M135 is a proper hot hatch with the potent 2.0-liter turbo engine under the hood. PHOTOS FROM BMW

The F70 receives a new set of engines, all turbocharged and direct-injected, and reinforced with a 48V mild-hybrid assist. The three-cylinder gasoline engine puts out 167hp, and the four-cylinder diesels (118d and 120d) generate 147hp and 160hp, respectively.

The range-topping M135 gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline mill outputting 295hp and 400Nm of torque, coupled to xDrive all-wheel drive via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

There will be more xDrive all-wheel-drive variants down the line.

Would you buy a new 1-Series if it ever made it to our shores? PHOTOS FROM BMW

Dynamically, the new F70 has a stiffer chassis, with tweaked suspension settings such as more caster up front and preloaded sway bars. The optional M Sport package also lowers the suspension by 8mmm and uses special 18-inch alloy wheels.

Meanwhile, the M135 gets even larger 19-inch alloys and massive brakes up front. Despite all the focus on electronics, BMW never forgets what’s core to its ethos of making driver-centric cars.

It remains to be seen if we’ll get the latest F70 1-Series here as hatchbacks aren’t as popular in the Philippines. Coupled with high exchange rates, the chances look bleaker. Here’s hoping we get at least the tasty M135 even as a specialty limited model.

Botchi Santos

Botchi is your friendly, walking car encyclopedia. He loves helping people choose the right vehicle for themselves as much as he enjoys picking the right one for himself. Expect him to write about car culture, test drives and car-shopping advice. His regular column is called ‘Car Life’.