The new 2012 BMW 1-Series with the codename F20 has been unveiled. The 1-er is now both longer and wider, and rides on a longer wheelbase as well, which should hopefully translate into better interior space.

Wheelbase has grown by 30mm so it now stands at 2,690mm, which is just 10mm shorter than the current generation Honda Civic sold in Malaysia, because of the car’s short overhangs and aft of front axle engine placement, most of the wheelbase is actually in the area between the wheel and the door.

The car is also wider by 17mm. Front track has been increased by 51mm and the rear track by 72mm. Ride height remains unchanged at 1,421mm. The rear seats have 21mm more legroom, while the luggage area is 30 litre larger, now standing at 360 litres before the rear seats are folded down. The car remains rear wheel drive.

There are a few engine variants announced at launch time, though I suspect the F20 1-Series will not be limited to these engines only. There are two petrols, both powered by 1.6 litre inline-4 twin scroll turbocharged engines with Valvetronic, Double VANOS and direct injection. The 116i makes 136hp at 4,400rpm, with a peak torque of 220Nm between 1,350rpm to 4,300rpm. The more powerful 118i makes 170hp at 4,800rpm and peak torque of 250Nm between 1,500 to 4,500rpm.

The remaining three engine options are all based on a 2.0 litre inline-4 diesel engine. The baseline is the 116d, making 116hp at 4,000rpm and 260Nm of torque between 1,750 to 2,500rpm. The mid-range is the 118d making 143hp at 4,000rpm and 320Nm of torque between 1,750rpm to 2,500rpm.

The most powerful engine in the range so far is the 120d’s engine, which has similar specs to the 2.0L diesel engine in the 320d, 520d, X1, X3, etc. It makes a full 184 horsepower at 4,000rpm and a peak torque of 380Nm between 1,750rpm and 2,750rpm. This is the most powerful F20 1-er so far, and also accelerates to 100km/h the fastest in just 7.2 seconds. I’m pretty sure a petrol 128i with the new N20B20 2.0L turbo 4 cylinder will take the most powerful F20 crown later though. And looking at what BMW can extract from the MINI Cooper JCW’s 1.6 litre lump (200+ horses), there’s probably the opportunity for a 123i with a more highly strung 1.6L turbo as well.

All engines come by default with a 6-speed manual, but there is an optional 8-speed automatic transmission. Both manual and auto transmissions have Automatic Start/Stop as standard. There’s also a switch near the gear lever that you can use to activate an ECO PRO mode, which supposedly tunes various parameters to allow better fuel efficiency – this probably means more efficient throttle mapping and quicker upshifts.

BMW has launched the car with two different trim levels – the Sport Line and the Urban Line. This is something unusual, since we’re used to BMWs being either standard, M Sport or further customizable with BMW Individual.

The Sport Line (the red car you see here) and Urban Line (the blue car) has different front and rear bumpers, and the Sport Line gets some additional red stripes on the interior and even on its key fob. Even the front grille is different, with the Urban Line getting a chrome grille with silver-coloured slats (like the one on the F10 550i), while the Sport Line gets a chrome grille with black slats.

BMW has also allowed buyers to tick some more upmarket options on the spec sheet when ordering, such as high-beam assistance, parking assistance, a reverse camera, Lane Departure Warning, Collision Warning, BMW ConnectedDrive, and etc.

BMW 1-Series Sport Line

BMW 1-Series Urban Line

BMW 1-Series M Sport