FIRST LOOK: F40 BMW 1 Series – good A-Class rival?

BMW unveiled the new F40 1 Series back in May, and for those who aren’t up to speed yet, the biggest change with the new model is the adoption of a front-wheel drive platform instead of a rear-wheel drive one like with the second-generation F20.

Beyond that big change that has purists up getting all worked up, the 1er also gets a complete redesign for its exterior and interior. Thankfully, we managed to get up close with the model during this year’s #NextGen showcase in Munich, so here’s a tour of the new 1 Series in its range-topping M135i xDrive and 118d M Sport variants.

The adoption of the FAAR (Frontantriebsarchitektur) platform does result in changes to the vehicle’s dimensions, as the 1er is now five mm shorter compared to the F20 at 4,319 mm. Additionally, the width is now 1,799 mm (+34 mm), the height now measures 1,434 mm (+13 mm), while the wheelbase has shrunk by 20 mm to 2,670 mm.

On the exterior, you’ll find a larger, conjoined kidney grille at the front and reshaped lighting units on a body that has less of a “bread van” look than before. The interior has also been transformed to be more upmarket, boasting familiar BMW technologies like the Live Cockpit and other design cues.

The oil burning variant packs a 2.0 litre four-cylinder powerplant that develops 150 PS (147 hp) and 350 Nm, but it’s the M135i xDrive that’s more exciting. The M Performance version gets a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol unit that develops 306 PS (302 hp) and 450 Nm, paired with an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic and BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system.

Performance-wise, the variant will take just 4.8 seconds to complete the zero to 100 km/h, with an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. The obvious rival here is the Mercedes-AMG A 35 4Matic, which by comparison, takes 4.7 seconds to complete the same century sprint. The A 35 uses a 2.0 litre turbo four-pot with 306 PS (302 hp) and 400 Nm, as well as a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

So, what do you think of the new 1 Series? Would you consider it to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

GALLERY: F40 BMW M135i xDrive

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Gerard Lye

Originating from the corporate world with a background in finance and economics, Gerard’s strong love for cars led him to take the plunge into the automotive media industry. It was only then did he realise that there are more things to a car than just horsepower count.



  • Mario and Bros on Jul 12, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Expecting to release New CKD F40 1 Series to be launched in Malaysia as soon as possible by this year. This can compete with A Class

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1
  • Das Auto on Jul 12, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    The 1 anytime better then torsion beam A class.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 3
    • Ex VGM staff on Jul 12, 2019 at 6:59 pm

      Do you know that the Renault megane RS trophy is the fastest hot hatch round the nurburgring? Beating the Civic type R by few seconds. By the way, take note that the megane is using torsion beam rear axle. Beating CTR set up.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
      • Well, do you know how stiff the Megane RS Trophy suspension is? It is unusable for daily driving on normal roads. The CTR is still civilized enough, even can be considered comfortable. That’s the shortfall of torsion beam: You either tune it too soft or too hard. There is no middle ground, where good handling meet good comfort like the multi-link rear suspension.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
      • 4G63T DSM on Jul 14, 2019 at 8:16 am

        You can get a torsion beam to handle.
        You can get a torsion beam to be comfortable

        You just can’t get a torsion beam to do both and remain composed over rough and uneven terrain. Non independent rears tend to be a bit snappy if one wheel runs over a bump.

        Not that it matters if you are chasing down seconds at the ring, with a pro driver, but for an average Joe on the road?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Better don’t touch the A dual-clutch too

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4
  • seancorr (Member) on Jul 12, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Everyone was bitching on how the vanilla A class handles so the plain Jane 1er should do better. Ask for the battle between the A35 and M135i traditionally the BMW would fare better. But all in all it’s a big leap from the previous 1er…. likewise with the A.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1
  • Nasi kandar on Jul 12, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    For RM52K only, we already can get the game changing Myvi with modern design, advance features, more legroom and Lexus handling

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 33
    • Veyron Owner on Jul 13, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      Perodua fanboys shiok sendiri by comparing their lousy Myvi to this 1Series beauty.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0
    • Oh, here we go again! The delusional P2 troll now thinks P2 equals to Lexus. Dislike barrage on the way.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0
    • speeder on Jul 14, 2019 at 1:05 am

      lexus always go into longkang

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1
  • Darth_Zoom on Jul 12, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Finally, thy got the design right & spec – hope th price not over A-Class

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3
  • kevin on Jul 12, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Finally a good looking 1 series. Took them so long to come up with this

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6
  • Aladdin on Jul 13, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Ugly kidney grill

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 26
    • Can it still be considered ‘kidney’ since it’s not separated anymore? More like a nose.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Zoom zoom on Jul 13, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Looks better and more garang than the A-class..nice!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 4
  • Exterior, 1 series looked better but interior A class looked better. BMW is well known for handling. However, no idea if switch from rear wheel drive to front wheel drive will affect the fun of handling.

    BMW is also generally cheaper as compared to Merc in Malaysia. Just wondering what spec will Auto Bavaria offering us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  • 4G63T DSM on Jul 14, 2019 at 8:18 am

    Since it’s FWD now, can BMW fit a spare tire in the trunk? Enough of that run flat nonsense already.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

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