The upcoming 1 Series – spotted here undergoing trials – will no longer be rear-wheel-drive, as it will use the UKL platform which underpins BMW Group products such as the 2 Series Active Tourer and 2 Series Gran Tourer, along with the MINI range of models.

The use of the UKL transverse engine platform should be the liberation of more space within the cabin, especially in the rear, both for rear passengers and luggage. In the case of the development unit spotted here, it appears to be a sort of M140i range-topping variant as suggested by the dual tailpipes, likely featuring xDrive all-wheel-drive, which should take it head-to-head with the likes of the VW Golf R and the Ford Focus RS.

The upcoming 1 Series line-up is expected to feature the group’s range of three- and four-cylinder engines in both petrol and diesel forms, which will be part of either a front- or all-wheel-drive layout. With plug-in hybrid options already operational on the UKL platform with the 225xe Active Tourer and the MINI Countryman, it could well find its way to the upcoming 1 Series too. Thus set up, an all-electric 1 Series is also possible.

It has been rumoured that the latest, upcoming compact BMW will be available only as a five-door, compared to past iterations where a three-door variant was present. Though this will be the first full model change 1 Series to go FWD, it isn’t the first front-driven model to bear the nameplate – that landmark goes to the exclusive-for-China 1 Series Sedan.