BMW introduced the 1 Series compact in 2004. Initially available only as a five-door hatchback , the 1 Series gained a three-door version and two-door coupe and convertible iterations in 2007. While the first-gen hatchback was redesigned in 2011, the coupe and convertible models remained in dealerships until 2013 and 2014, respectively. In 2011, BMW launched the second-gen five-door hatchback, while the three-door version followed in 2012. Three 3.0-liter, inline-six powertrains were offered in the United States. The entry-level 128i model came with 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet, the mid-range 135i had 300 horsepower and pound-feet, while the 135is cranked out 320 ponies and 317 pound-feet. As we move closer to the 2015 model year, BMW is readying a mid-life refresh for the second-generation 1 Series.
Expected to debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October, the facelifted 1 Series receives updated front and rear fascias, a slightly revised interior and mild upgrades under the hood. Our spy photographers have already spotted a test vehicle on the road with less than two months before its debut.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 1 Series
Wrapped in swirly camouflage from the waist down, the 1 Series manages to hide its updated front and rear fascias. However, we can still notice that BMW decided to fit the 1 Series with the same headlamps seen on the 2 Series, while the kidney grille is now larger. The Germans have been implementing wider grilles on pretty much every facelift or new model for 2014 and 2015 model years, and it appears the 1 Series will be no different. Around back, a set of redesigned taillights with LED technology are set to replace the current units, while everything else will remain unchanged save for a few nips and tucks.
Interior modifications will be limited to a new steering wheel, a slightly reconfigured center stack and revised trims. A couple of new color combos and on the table as well.
Under the hood, the facelifted 1 Series is set to receive updated 2.0-liter, four-bangers and 3.0-liter, inline-six units, but a series of 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engines are likely as well. Expect minor improvements in the output, fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions departments.
If hatchbacks aren’t your cup of tea, you can always go with the Audi A3. Currently available only as a sedan in the United States, the A3 shares the same styling cues with the bigger A4, sticking to Audi’s familiar design strategy. Fitted with one of the most luxurious cabins in the segment, the A3 is offered in the usual Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels, and with a choice of three engines.
The range begins with the 1.8-liter, TFSI unit rated at 170 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. The four-banger comes with a 0-to-60-mph time of 7.2 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. Those looking for more power can go with the 2.0-liter TFSI, which boasts 220 ponies and 258 pound-feet of twist. The extra power enables the sedan to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.2 seconds. Lastly, the 2.0-liter diesel churns 150 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque for a 0-to-60 mph acceleration of 8.1 seconds. Slow is right, but the oil burner returns up to 43 mpg on the highway and up to 31 mpg in the city. Pricing starts from $29,900.
Gallery Audi A3
From the other side of Germany comes the CLA-Class, famous for being one of the most aerodynamic compacts on the market. The U.S. only gets the CLA250, which is motivated by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder mill with 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet on tap. Fuel economy estimates sit at 38 mpg highway and 26 mpg city, not too shabby for a four-door coupe that will take you from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds.
If you need more power and speed, then you can opt for the CLA45 AMG and the 355 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque that come with it. The oomph is squeezed from the compact’s AMG-tuned, 2.0-liter, four-pot and pushes the vehicles from 0 to 60 mph in an impressive 4.4 seconds. Top speed sits at 155 mph. The CLA250 retails from $29,900, while the CLA45 AMG costs from $47,450 before any options.